Health Management News

Soccer injury ends in death for East Rand teen

Written by Thabo Molelekwa

The family of a Vosloorus teen believes an injection to treat a soccer injury may have led to their son’s death, and say they may have been able to prevent this if nurses had explained to them the possible treatment side effects.

In 2012, the World Health Organisation affirmed the birth control method's safety, but strongly recommended women on progesterone-only injections, like Depo-Provera, also use condoms to prevent HIV infection.

Tsepang’s family says nurses did not warn them about potential but very rare adverse reactions to the injection to stop pain and inflammation. (File photo)

However, an inquest is underway to uncover the reason for the boy’s death.

Tsepang Rankeng, 13, came home on 28 August complaining of pain in his knee following a school soccer match. On Sunday, Tsepang’s father, Moshoeshoe Mahamo, said he took him to be seen at the Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital’s family clinic.

According to Mahamo, Tsepang was seen by a doctor who wrote the teen a prescription and referred to him to the hospital’s orthopaedic department where

Tsepang was given an injection of the drug Voltaren, which is used to relieve pain and swelling.

According to Tsepang’s family, the teen developed diarrhoea and blurry vision as well as changes in the colour of his urine.

Voltaren is made by Swiss drug manufacturers Novartis. According to the drug’s package insert, any one of these symptoms should have been a warning that Tsepang may have been having an adverse reaction to the medication.

These kinds of severe reactions to the medicine are very rare and occur in fewer than 1 in 10,000 people, according to the UK’s eMC Medicine Guide, which is written by independent pharmacists and checked by European medicine control councils.

According to Tsepang’s grandmother Alice Maele, health care workers never told the family that the injection could have side effects.

“They did not explain to us that what must we do if the boy had side effects from the injection,” said Maele, adding that health workers had confirmed that the boy received the injection and assured the family it had no side effects.

[quote float= right]”They did not explain to us that what must we do if the boy had side effects from the injection”

When Tsepang’s symptoms worsened, the family returned to Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital where Tsepang was admitted. When the boy began struggling to breathe, Mahamo said a crowd of doctors surrounded the teen trying to help him but that Tsepang passed away.

According to Maele, health workers told the family that the boy had died of chicken pox.

“It is not going to bring our boy back, but the hospital must pay for what they have done to us,” she told Health-e News.

The Gauteng Department of Health Spokesperson Steve Mabona confirmed that Tsepang had been treated by the hospital and that the South African Police Services (SAPS) are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.

“The South African Police Services are currently conducting an inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of the said patient,” Mabona said. “The department will await the outcome of the inquest before we make any comments on the matter.”

According to Katlehong SAPS Spokesperson Constable Patric Mashiyane (corr), an inquest docket has been opened and the police are currently awaiting results from Tsepang’s post-mortem results. – Health-e News.

An edited version of this story also appeared on

About the author

Thabo Molelekwa

Thabo Molelekwa joined OurHealth citizen journalists project in 2013 and went on to become an intern reporter in 2015. Before joining Health-e News, Thabo was a member of the Treatment Action Campaign’s Vosloorus branch. He graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology with a diploma in Computer Systems and started his career at Discovery Health as a claims assessor. In 2016 he was named an International HIV Prevention Reporting Fellow with the International Centre for Journalists and was a finalist in the Discovery Health Journalism Awards competition in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Thabo also completed a feature writing course at the University of Cape Town in 2016. In 2017 he became a News reporter , he is currently managing the Citizen Journalism programme.You can follow him on @molelekwa98