Livingstone unable to meet needs of growing number of amputees
Port Elizabeth’s Livingstone Hospital has run out of crutches as demand for the walking aid rises, with the institution needing 5 000 pairs.
A high number of amputations linked mainly to diabetes complications has been cited as one of the factors.
Eastern Cape health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said the shortage was caused when the demand for crutches outstripped supply provided for under a national tender.
“I want to say that it is not a payment issue, it is a supply issue.”
Kupelo said attempts to acquire 5 000 pairs of crutches from another supplier proved unsuccessful as it could only deliver at the end of next month.
“We got a quote from a local company to buy 300 pairs of crutches but they had a problem with the handles.”
Last year, concerns were raised over the number of amputations done at the hospital.
Doctors had to perform some 700 amputations between January 2015 and May last year – most caused by diabetes complications.
Brian Paddey, of the Amputee Support Group, said running out of crutches was outrageous.
“It defies logic that someone can sit in an office and let this happen.
“People can’t get discharged [from hospital] until they are mobile and this would mean that they could spend weeks more in hospital.
“A decent pair of crutches costs around R200.”
Paddey said he had received donations of six pairs of crutches that he would donate to Livingstone, and he appealed to anyone else who might have crutches lying around to get in touch with him to donate them.
The DA’s Celeste Barker said she was horrified to hear of the shortage of crutches.