Dear Doctor Tendani Matoro

Dr Tendani Matoro brings you medical assistance, advice and information every week with the assistance of other professionals in our network.

AFRICAN Times brings you an interactive medical column section with Dr TG Matoro. You can send in your medical questions/ stories or any health related issues to medcentre@ or tendanimatoro@

To ensure that your question is fully addressed, follow up questions might be asked before your case goes to print. Some of the important details to include are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Current illness/condition/problem
  • Duration of illness/condition/ problem
  • Treatment/medication/ intervention already tried for current illness/condition/problem
  • Details of current illness/condition/ problem including how this affects your daily life and activities
  • Other medical illnesses that you might already have (including medication/treatment being taken)
  • Regular treatment or medication being used for current illness/ condition/problem
  • Any complications that might have resulted from the illness or treatment used

You are also expected to state how you would like to be assisted. The doctor can link you with other health professionals near you (should you need additional or direct assistance). Please note that we encourage you to continue with your regular health professional and using your regular medication. Should you have any concerns or dissatisfaction with your current health professional, we advise that you discuss this with them.

We cannot publish any direct or indirect attacks on named professionals/facilities or structures. We do however encourage you to ask where you feel you might need a second medical opinion. Not all your queries can be fully addressed through writing, thus we still encourage the traditional health professional-patient relationship.

We hope to bring you medical assistance, advice and information every week with the assistance of other professionals in our network. Some cases will be forwarded to specialists and experts who might recommend that you consult at a convenient facility that suits not only your bio-psychological needs but socio-economic as well.

When to consult?

We will include 2 summarised cases that will give you an idea of when to consult. Some conditions may either be too complex or may require medical and/or surgical (relating to operating) intervention. In urgent situations, most are aware that they need to consult if injured; allergic to something and reacting; bleeding (other than from injury); bitten by animals, reptiles or insects and if one experiences any weakness of limbs or facial muscles. These are some conditions that will need review. In some cases, it is up to relatives and people around us to call an ambulance or take us to a health care centre. If one is breathing fast, very weak, bleeding excessively or unconscious, one will need assistance.

Case 1

A 25 year old man gets recurrent swelling of the right big toe for years that comes and goes. He never had any injuries to that toe. He does not have any medical condition nor is he taking any monthly medication. He is otherwise generally fit and engages in sport from time to time. He generally consulted at the clinic when the pain was unbearable and would get some antibiotics and painkillers. He was told that he cuts his toe nails too short and skewed. Other relatives have told him to try traditional healers for help but he’s reluctant. His main worry is that he cannot wear closed shoes for long and he might lose his big toe if he’s seen by a doctor.

After eventually consulting, he is found to have an ingrown toenail. He undergoes a minor surgical procedure which successfully relieves his pain and mild impairment. A year later, his problem has not recurred. He is wearing all kinds of shoes without any restrictions or discomfort. He is also happier with his sporting engagement as he is pain-free.

Case 2

A 14 year old girl is generally unwell, nauseous and complaining of abdominal pains. Her problem started 2 days ago. Her parents are worried that she might be pregnant as she started menstruating some years back. Despite her reassurance to them that her last menstrual period was last week, for 4 days, her mother still seems anxious. Her mother decides to ask their neighbour, a clinic nurse. The nurse advised them to visit the clinic for a thorough evaluation. At the clinic, the girl is found to have a temperature of 38.9⁰C. Her urine is also found to be abnormal, but the pregnancy test was negative. The clinic sister is most worried about her pain which first started around the umbilicus and is currently more prominent on her right lower abdominal area.

The young girl is referred immediately to the nearest hospital where the casualty doctor diagnoses her of acute appendicitis. She is then booked for an emergency operation. An uncomplicated appendicitis was found and removed. She recovers well from the operation and was discharged after a few days from hospital. She follows up at hospital 7 days later and was found to be well without any complications.

The above cases represent 2 problems that eventually needed surgical intervention. Case 1 shows a long-standing condition that one could live with.

Case 2 emphasises the importance of early problem detection and intervention. Both cases could have had complications in their own ways if left untreated. Case 2 could have however been more fatal.

Dr Tendani Matoro is a Medical Doctor (MBChB, UCT), General Practitioner Polokwane), Clinical Advisor (Advanced Clinical Care HIV/AIDS and TB), Social Commentator (News24 and WordPress Blog) and Medical Columnist (Weekly Publications in African Times Newspaper).

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