Durban – A priority heart patient claims he was forced to leave hospital without having his lifesaving triple-bypass operation to make way for festive season stabbing and gunshot victims.

“I was sent home to die,” Mike Nairn of Durban North said.

Responding to the allegations, the provincial Department of Health said doctors at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital had decided not to operate as it would have endangered his life.

And scotching rumours about trauma patients being earmarked for beds in the cardiothoracic ward, department spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda stressed the ward functioned well “and its bed occupancy rate is not affected by the number of trauma patients as they got admitted to the intensive care unit or the high-care ward”.

Nairn, 49, said the hospital had written on his discharge document that he was being discharged because he smoked.

“They always knew I was a smoker. I told the doctor I was down to five a day.”

Patients in other wards heard doctors saying the cardiac ward and another ward were being cleared to make beds available for Christmas stabbing and gunshot- wound patients, he claimed.

Told to report back in three months’ time, Nairn told a doctor he’d be dead by then.

Nairn has been in and out of hospitals since January after a heart attack. He spent two months at Albert Luthuli and was transferred to Wentworth Hospital where he spent five months.

“Imagine how relieved I was when I was categorised as a priority patient and asked to report to the hospital on December 11 to undergo surgery,” he said.

The only concern was about the circulation in his legs and he “was shocked to the core” when a doctor told him he had a 50% chance of dying on the operating table because of the (poor) circulation in his legs.

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