“As a doctor, your role is to save lives. You tend to remember those you failed to save, especially if it was under traumatic circumstances.”
That was the admission by Grey’s Hospital surgeon Morgan Govender during the hearings of the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) commission of inquiry in Pietermaritzburg today.
The commission is looking into the circumstances that led to the deaths of eight traffic recruits who died in December last year. These recruits were among 47 000 who were short-listed to participate in a 4km fitness run between December 27 and 28. However, only 90 posts were available.
In her evidence, Govender said she was approached by the lawyers representing the department of transport. They wanted hospital records relating to the death of Sanele Ngcobo.
Out of the eight people who died following the fitness tests, Ngcobo’s remains a mystery since he was found with his throat slit.
But Govender said the only records that had been available were the nurses’ theatre records, after Ngcobo’s file was found to be missing.
She was able to recall certain details from memory as she said doctors remembered those they failed to save.
Govender described the wound as a “long, ragged laceration” which stretched from the left side of the neck.
Ngcobo died on the theatre table on December 28 last year, she testified.
Govender said she could not be sure what instrument was used to inflict the stab wound. However, from her experience, a stab wound resulting from a knife produced a single, linear, smooth insertion as opposed to a jagged wound caused by a rough pipe or bottle.
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