Young doc makes ER tick
Cornell Tukiri | 2017-01-27 07:35:21.0
SAVIOUR: When patients arrive at the casualty department of Madadeni Hospital it is not known how they will react to treatment. This man had been in a car accident and was traumatised. Kubheka and his assisting medical student tried to calm and control him, even though he lashed out at them. Kubheka spent many hours stitching the man’s lacerations
Image by: CORNELL TUKIRI
It’s a Thursday afternoon when emergency services personnel begin to roll patients into the casualty department at Newcastle’s Madadeni Hospital.
There are victims of vehicle accidents and stabbings, people with broken limbs, and prisoners with cellphones inside them.
Sandile Kubheka, who at 23 is one of South Africa’s youngest doctors, starts his 24-hour shift.
Kubheka, who was born and grew up in Madadeni township, graduated from high school at the age of 15. When he was 20 years old he attained his MBChB surgery degree from the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
He completed his two years of community service at the hospital last year and is now a medical officer who specialises in internal medicine.
“I want to stay within the public health system,” he said. “My interest lies in internal medicine, particularly diabetes. It’s had an impact on my family and community, so I really want to help people with internal problems.”
Kubheka said he owes his success to his mother, Khangezile, whom he describes as “caring”. She allowed him and his five siblings space and supported them when obstacles arose.
“I’ve always felt I’ve been a hard worker,” he said. “And I’ve felt I’ve had to overcompensate because I am young and I have to prove my clinical judgment constantly.”
As Friday morning approaches, more patients are patched up, referred on, or sent home. Just another 24-hour shift for Kubheka, who remains cool under pressure.