Mother sues gynaecologist for ‘unjustified’ labour

2008-02-18 00:00

A Pietermaritzburg woman has lodged a damages claim for R493 198 against a local specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr T Bhika, in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

The case, which is being defended by Bhika, arises from allegations made by mother of two Roshilla Singh, that he breached his contractual obligations towards her and/or treated her negligently when she gave birth to her second child in May 2001, resulting in her undergoing a hysterectomy and being unable to bear more children.

The matter has been set down for hearing in the high court here over five days from June 23.

Singh alleges that the gynaecologist induced her to go into labour without any adequate obstetric reason or medical justification, and when it was inappropriate to do so.

She alleges that he failed to inform her of the risks involved in so doing, that he failed to attend to her appropriately, that he failed to ensure the nursing staff were properly instructed and properly carried out their instructions and also allegedly failed to prescribe relevant treatment or medication, and failed to ensure she received adequate post-delivery care.

The papers allege that this resulted in a hysterectomy having to be performed.

The claim is for hospital and medical expenses incurred, pain, suffering and discomfort and further pain and discomfort, as well as permanent disfigurement and disability due to her inability to bear children in future.

Singh allegedly intended to have at least three children.

In replying papers, Bhika denies having committed any breach of his contractual obligations to Singh, or that he treated her negligently. He denies having induced labour without adequate reason, and said that he did so after explaining to Singh that the advantages far outweighed the risks.

He claims she presented a medical condition that might have compromised the foetus.

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