KZN health MEC waiting for HIV ruling

2010-01-21 15:05

KwaZulu-Natal’s health MEC was on Thursday waiting for a written

High Court judgment that found in favour of a woman infected with HIV by one of

the department’s paramedics.

“The MEC for Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo respects the High Court

judgment on the matter between [him] and the ‘Gauteng woman’ and is currently

awaiting the written judgment in order to make a decision on further action,”

Dhlomo’s spokesman Chris Maxon said in a statement.

A Bedfordview woman took the KwaZulu-Natal health department to the

Pietermaritzburg High Court after she was infected with the HI-Virus by the

department’s paramedic who helped her 10 years ago.

On Wednesday Judge Shimon Patel ruled that the paramedic failed to

treat the woman with the degree of skill and care of a reasonable paramedical

professional. He attended to the woman after he “worked on” a pedestrian who was

killed when the woman’s car crashed near the Mooi River toll plaza on August 31,

2000.

Patel said he failed to ensure no contamination occurred in

handling the dead pedestrian and the woman.

After the accident the woman was taken to the Pietermaritzburg Medi

Clinic with a head injury. She was discharged four days later.

Three Johannesburg doctors and two specialists estimated she became

infected about the time of the collision.

Patel said the paramedic should have known that with the high

incidence of HIV, and with two people with open, bleeding wounds, he should have

foreseen the risk of cross-contamination of blood. He should have taken

precautions to avoid this.

Patel ordered the health department be held liable for any damage

the woman may be found to have suffered as a result of her becoming

infected.

This case concerned only liability and not damage amounts.
 
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