An East London defence lawyer who wants his client’s murder case thrown out has blamed Frere Hospital, which treated the man stabbed by his client, for the death.
Defence lawyer Mtimkhulu Mpahlwa argued in the East London regional court this week that his client, Ayanda Balekile, was not responsible for the death of Khumbulani Kiva, even though Balekile stabbed Kiva. Instead it was Frere doctors who had caused Kiva’s death, he told the court.
Regional magistrate Sadia Jacobs heard that Kiva had been misdiagnosed in Frere Hospital’s casualty ward by Dr KC Dinesh.
Kiva died from internal bleeding and multiple organ failure four years ago.
The court heard that Balekile, 31, stabbed Kiva on the left side of his neck in a tavern brawl on the evening of November 17 2013.
Dr Solomzi Zondi, who performs 75% of the autopsies in the Woodbrook government mortuary, took the witness stand and testified in the murder case on Monday.
Balekile has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder, which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment.
His lawyer, Mpahlwa, confirmed the “not guilty” plea, arguing that his client could not be held responsible for murder as the death was due to Frere Hospital’s medical malpractice.
“The stabbing took place on November 17 2013 and the deceased passed away on November 19 2013 at 6.30pm. The deceased did not die immediately, correct?”
Zondi answered: “Yes that is correct.”
Mpahlwa further asked: “Do you know what treatment he received from the hospital?
“I have here a hospital record that states that he was seen by Dr KC Dinesh.
“He was the first doctor to see him?”
“Yes, that is correct,” Zondi said.
Mpahlwa explained: “Dr Dinesh said on arrival the patient was smelling of alcohol and the wound was not actively bleeding.
“There was a misdiagnosis because it was the artery which was bleeding internally, that is why he missed it, he did not know what was happening,” Zondi replied.
“It was a small cut and blood was escaping through the layers of a vessel, it is very difficult to diagnose. His job was to examine how bad the wound was, stabilise the patient and transfer him to a surgical ward for the surgeon to diagnose him.”
Zondi added that the artery could have been treated in an operation by a surgeon.
Mpahlwa put it to Zondi that Kiva was then referred to Dr Vusi Khumalo, an intern surgeon on duty.
Khumalo conducted a CT scan on Kiva on November 18, something Zondi said should have been done immediately.
“He was seen by an intern, I don’t know what was the picture, I was not there and I am not going to speak for [Khumalo]. So for him to delay the CT scan, I don’t understand because you need an early diagnosis in this case. If you delay then it becomes ‘a point of no return’,” Zondi said.
Mpahlwa said: “Sir, with me is a letter from the sister [of the deceased] Nolutsha Kiva. She said she visited her brother in hospital on November 18and this [was] what she observed – he was in the bed with no drip and she was informed that her brother was being discharged by the doctor,” Mpahlwa said.
“You can only discharge a patient once the person is stable and has been treated for the underlying cause.
“I don’t know why the doctors took the decision to discharge the person, worse someone who is already paralysed,” Zondi responded.
The trial continues. —