Rugby player wins court victory

2012-11-23 09:16

The Western Cape health department must pay compensation to a paralysed rugby player, the province’s High Court has ruled, the Times reported today.

In 2002 Charles Oppelt (27) was injured during a match and had to wait about 15 hours before being treated at a Cape Town hospital.

His lawyers successfully argued that permanent damage could have been prevented if doctors had conducted a certain procedure within four hours of Oppelt’s accident.

“When I left the court I burst into tears,” he told the paper.

“I didn’t cry because we were successful, I cried because my father was not there to see this day.”

The court would decide how much the department had to pay Oppelt.

“Even though he didn’t have money he wanted someone to be held accountable. I remember him telling me: ‘I might not be there for you some day but I want to make sure life is easier for you’,” Oppelt said.

Oppelt was injured while playing for Mamre Rugby Club.

He was first taken to a nearby hospital, then Groote Schuur Hospital where he waited hours for treatment. The following morning he was taken to Conradie Hospital where doctors operated on him.

He spent a year recovering and was left paralysed from the waist down.

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