Health to pay up for negligence

2015-07-23 10:34


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THE Pietermaritzburg High Court has ordered the MEC for Health in KZN to pay R107 648 for past medical expenses that were incurred on behalf of a child who is mentally disabled due to negligence by staff at an Inanda clinic on the day of his birth.

The child, Bukhosini Maphumulo Jeza, is represented in the case by a court-appointed curator due to the fact that his mother, Thembilihle Maphumulo, died of natural causes on July 9, 2008.

The attorney representing the curator in the case, Michael Friedman, said in court papers the MEC for Health in KZN had admitted on November 18 last year that the department is liable to pay 70% of proven damages suffered by the child due to negligence by staff at Inanda New Town Clinic.

The amount of R107 648,19, which the court yesterday ordered the department to pay, represents 70% of the past medical, hospital and caregiver costs that were incurred after the boy’s birth on February 26, 2008.

The total claim initially instituted against the department was for more than R13,2 million.

However, the actual total amount the department will eventually have to pay (amounting to 70% of proven damages) will only be determined during future legal proceedings.

According to the particulars of claim in the court file, Buhosini’s mother had arrived at the Inanda New Town clinic at 3 pm on February 26, 2008.

She told medical staff there that she was about 36 weeks pregnant, and had been experiencing vaginal bleeding since 5 am that morning.

She was not immediately attended to, but told to sit and wait on a bench in the waiting room.

At 3.30 pm she had complained to staff that she was suffering from abdominal pains.

She continued to experience these pains for the rest of the afternoon up to the time of her first examination at 6 pm.

At that time it was recorded she was 33 weeks pregnant and staff felt no foetal heart beat or movement.

The baby was born in hospital at 11.50 pm that night by normal delivery.

According to the papers, medical staff failed to consider the fact that Maphumulo had experienced vaginal bleeding, or recognise that the foetus was distressed. They also failed to take immediate steps to perform a caesarian section, which was called for.

Instead, Maphumulo’s labour was unnecessarily prolonged, staff failed to monitor the condition of the mother and baby and take steps to ensure the best care for the baby.

As a result the boy was born severely mentally and physically handicapped, having suffered irreversible brain damage.

He will be totally dependent on others for his daily needs for life, suffers seizures and his eyesight is impaired.
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  health

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