Umlazi mom wins R7,1 mln in damages

2013-03-12 00:00

AN Umlazi mother secured a R7,1 million damages payout after medical staff neglected her son’s broken leg and then had to have it amputated in 2008.

The lawsuit was settled out of court yesterday between provincial health authorities and Thokozani Mkhize in respect of her 10-year-old son, Minenhle.

Candidate attorney Sphamandla Mlaba, of Friedman & Associates, which represented Mkhize, confirmed they had asked for R11,5 million, but settled after talks at the high court in Pietermaritzburg. The money will be used to pay for Minenhle’s past and future medical costs and for his prosthetic limb.

Mkhize said she was happy with the settlement, but added that nothing could change what had happened to her son. She said Minenhle was coping with his disability, but sometimes he was teased by other children and couldn’t lead a completely normal life.

Last year, representatives of the MEC for Health conceded that the authorities were liable to meet claims for damages arising from medical negligence.

The case was set down for trial yesterday to decide the amount.

Minenhle’s left leg was amputated below the knee at Prince Mshiyeni Hospital when he was six years old, after he fell out of a tree and fractured his left ankle on April 29, 2008.

According to court papers, Minenhle was taken to hospital the next day, where he was treated as an outpatient. A plaster cast was placed below his knee and it covered his foot.

His mother returned to the hospital over the next two days because Minenhle complained that he was still in severe pain, but they were turned away. Medical staff told them the pain was normal.

A few days later, Minenhle could no longer move his toes and the skin on his left foot became dark.

His mother took him back to the hospital and the cast was removed. A doctor told them that the blood supply to the left leg had been blocked and that an amputation was necessary.

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