Prominent orthopaedic surgeon brings relief to Somerset West worker

Posted on 31 May 2018

Dr Charl van den Berg, a prominent surgeon at Mediclinic Vergelegen, has been practicing as an orthopaedic surgeon for 14 years and has a special interest in shoulder surgery. He has also been involved with the charitable Agape foundation (NG Helderberg) for 18 months, where he takes on a few pro bono patients identified by local GPs.

Recently Tembelani Njonga, a general worker from the Nomzamo informal settlement, underwent surgery with Dr Charl van den Berg under the auspices of the Agape foundation. Being a patient that is reliant on the state, Tembelani was on a waiting list for surgery for a while and his condition was being managed with pain medication. Until this procedure, he had never been to hospital, making the life changing experience one of many firsts.

On Monday 28 May, Tembelani Njonga underwent an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair for a muscle tear. According to Dr van den Berg, he was expected to spend one night in hospital before being discharged, after which he will need to wear a supportive sling for six weeks. His rehabilitation will then require a physiotherapy programme with expected full shoulder function in 6 – 9 months. Tembelani’s job as a general worker at a local church is physically demanding and the pain from the injury was proving a constant challenge to his livelihood.

“I would like to thank Dr Owen Hodges, anaesthesiologist, and Dr Leon van der Spuy, who assisted in theatre, as both performed their work pro bono. Orthomedix sponsored much of the equipment required for the surgery, and together we have been able to achieve a collaborative effort to assist Tembelani,” says Dr van den Berg. Mediclinic Vergelegen was able to support Dr van den Berg with the surgery, by providing the theatre access for the patient as part of its contribution to the community.

“I have been blessed with a talent that allows me to help others,” says Dr van den Berg, “Being involved in such initiatives is always humbling and rewarding. I am able to watch my patients receive relief from pain while also regaining their quality of life.”

Published in CSI