Patient Has ‘Some Sort of Fistula’

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Doctors and health consultants are busy compiling a full report on the medical condition of 23-year-old Iuze Minyoi who is currently in the Katutura State Hospital with a gaping stomach wound. The superintendent of the Katutura State Hospital, Dr Colin Gariseb, told New Era yesterday that the medical report was requested by the Under-Secretary, Dr Norbet Foster. The report was prompted by numerous follow-up questions from other journalists based on the media story carried in New Era yesterday, he said. Although there have been numerous queries about Iuze’s two-month-old “open stomach wound”, medical experts have disclosed that it is not an uncommon medical condition, lifting some of the anxiety felt by her family. The patient, who is said to be in a stable condition, is suffering from what Dr Gariseb called “some sort of a fistula”. “She has got some sort of a fistula and all she needs now is to get as much nutritional support in her body intravenously. We have run some tests on her, and she needs a lot of nutritional fluids,” said Dr Gariseb. Fistula is an abnormal connection between an organ, vessel or intestine and another structure. The disease is usually the result of injury or surgery, but it can also be caused by infection or inflammation. One way fistulas can form is from an abscess – a pocket of pus in the body. The abscess may then constantly fill with body fluids such as stool or urine, which makes healing difficult. Eventually, the fistula breaks through to the skin, another body cavity or organ. However, since there are different types of fistulas and it is still unclear what kind of fistula Iuze Minyoi is suffering from, more tests need to be done in this regard. As to why the stomach wound has been left open for close to two months, ever since the patient underwent surgery in early January this year, it was made clear from a medical perspective that such a procedure is not uncommon. “With operations like these, if an infection or wound is found to be septic, you don’t close it, but leave it open so that the pus and infection can drain out, otherwise if this is not done the person may die,” explained Health Permanent Secretary, Dr Shangula, adding that this is not a unique case as “it’s like any other patient”. “Maybe it was an ulcer and that the contents of the gut got into the abdominal cavity. That is a possibility,” said Dr Shangula further. Based on the intensity of the infection, or if it is a chronic fistula, the wound can even be left open for life, or even a year until such time as the “toxic organisms” have been drained out completely. Such a procedure is therefore considered to be normal medically. On the constant public allegations that Cuban doctors do not know how to conduct proper surgery, Dr Shangula allayed such concerns, saying that these foreign doctors are highly qualified medically. “The Cuban health service is recognized as one of the best in the world as stated by the World Health Organization and European countries,” said Dr Shangula, adding that it would be unfair to assume that just because Cuban doctors cannot speak English they are unqualified to do the job. “We also have some Namibian doctors who studied in Cuba and nobody is complaining about them,” he said, noting that reasons behind these complaints are not medically oriented but have “too many unexplained undertones”.