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Accident survivor mysteriously circumcised

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NHLANGANO – A patient who was transferred to a South African private hospital after being involved in a car accident was circumcised without his permission.

This anomaly has left government with a bill of E6 000.

Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin from the male’s reproductive organ.

Timothy Dlamini a 44-year-old civil servant employed as a driver under the Ministry of Health, was taken to the Louis Pasteur Private Hospital in Pretoria through the Phalala Medical Scheme Fund.

He was transferred to the hospital in February this year after sustaining injuries on his spinal cord during an accident which occurred on September 3, 2011.

Before being transferred to South Africa, he had spent about five months in a hospital bed at the Mbabane Government Hospital as he could not walk and needed the attention of specialist who could only be found in South Africa.

Before being involved in the accident, Timothy had already sent an application to the Phalala Fund, as he had a lung cancer problem and needed specialists to examine and treat him.

After the accident, Timothy was first taken to the Nhlangano Health Centre. However, due to the seriousness of the injuries, he was later transferred to the Mbabane Government Hospital.

The doctors examined him and thereafter recommended that he be transferred to a hospital in South Africa.

In February this year, he was eventually allowed to go for treatment in South Africa after the Phalala Fund had allocated him a sum of E150 000.

He remained at the hospital for a month before returning home after being informed that he would not get much assistance because the injuries were serious. He was only given a wheelchair, which he was told he would have to use for the rest of his life. Timothy told this newspaper that during the month he spent at the hospital, not much attention was given to him but one day he was taken to the theater for the circumcision process.

"I never wanted to be circumcised as I did not believe in it," he said.

"A number of people including doctors I worked with at the Nhlangano Health Centre tried to convince me to be circumcised but I told them that I was not going to do it. The reason was that I had been told that once a person is circumcised, he no longer enjoyed sex. I then decided that I would not do it especially because I was faithful to my wife."

He said he was told about the circumcision a week before he returned home.

"The doctor told me that he would be taking me to the surgery room for circumcision in the next 15 minutes and therefore I should prepare myself," he said. "I told the doctor that I had not gone to the hospital for circumcision. I also told him that I had personal reasons why I did not want to be circumcised and asked that such should not be done."

He said the doctor told him that the circumcision was part of the treatment.

"The doctor said if I did not undergo the circumcision, I would have a problem in the future as I would not be able to urinate properly, especially because I was now on a wheelchair," he said.

"I had no choice but to go along with what the doctor wanted. Despite that the process went well, I felt within me that I should not do this. It was against my will but because of all the reasons given to me, I had to do it. Another thing that made me to go along with doctor’s decision was because I had been told that the doctors in Mbabane had also recommended the circumcision."

When told that the doctor charged E6 000 and Phalala Fund was not willing to pay the money as they felt it did not form part of the treatment, he looked surprised, saying he had always knew that circumcision was free of charge.

"How could that happen because circumcision is free of charge in the country," he said.

"They never told me that they would charge so much money. In fact I did not bother to ask how much it cost because Phalala Fund was taking care of all the bills."

He said he was not sure what will happen to the bill especially because the fund was not prepared to pay.

"The fact that I had to get assistance from government shows that I had no money to go to hospital," he said.

"There is no way I can afford to pay so much money. I just hope the bill is not brought to me because there is no way I can pay it," he said.

He said he was worried about his two children who were still young and need to be at school. "As you can see, I can no longer do much because of my condition," he said.

"With the little money I have, I will use it to pay for my children. I am trying by all means to save everything I have because my condition no longer allows me to do much.

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