Blindness: MEC liable to pay damages

2009-10-09 00:00

THE KZN Health MEC has been held liable by the high court in Pietermaritzburg to pay damages for a child’s blindness.

Judge Trevor Gorven yesterday ruled in favour of Tanya Bunge, who sued the MEC as well as medical practitioners at Port Shepstone Hospital for negligence in connection with their dealings with her premature baby boy, George, in 2003.

She later withdrew the lawsuit against the doctors as it was common cause that the MEC is legally liable for their conduct as their employer.

At this stage the high court has ruled only that the MEC is liable to pay damages, and the actual sum will be determined separately.

In a reserved judgment handed down yesterday, Judge Gorven said he found as a fact that the oxygen saturation levels — resulting from oxygen being administered to the baby by way of a “head box” placed inside the incubator — were above the recommended range; that Bunge was not advised in time of the risk of “retinopathy of prematurity” (a medical condition affecting eyesight) and the need for timeous screening. He also ruled that had Bunge been advised to seek screening, she would have taken steps immediately to have the baby screened.

“This would have prevented blindness,” the judge found.

“I find that George could have been taken to another hospital under the control of [the Health MEC] for screening within the recommended period and that, had this taken place, blindness would, on a balance of probabilities, have been prevented.”

He based these findings on the evidence of experts who testified.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.