R25m awarded in medical malpractice suit

2013-06-16 15:54
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Johannesburg - A R25m medical payout, the highest to date in South Africa, has been awarded to an 11-year-old girl left brain damaged after a series of botched operations, the Sunday Times reported.

On 1 June, the Medical Protection Society (MPS), an organisation that provides professional indemnity against liability, agreed to pay the settlement to Kerri Mel O'Loughlin.

O'Loughlin was left brain damaged after several operations carried out by neurosurgeon Dr Minette du Preez at the Life Bay View private hospital in Mossel Bay.

O'Loughlin, originally from Ireland, was born with a bleed to the brain. When she was five she underwent surgery in which a shunt was inserted to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid and water. In 2009, when the family had relocated to South Africa, she began to complain of headaches.

Du Preez advised the parents she needed a new shunt. The operation was unsuccessful. A further three operations to try and put the shunt in the correct position followed.

It was later discovered that the first two had caused brain damage. She was discharged from hospital in April 2010.

O'Loughlin subsequently suffered from a number of cognitive, memory, speech, visual and mobility problems.

Kerri's father, Declan, instituted a damages claim against Du Preez and the MPS. The matter was settled out of court in August 2012.

Declan O'Loughlin told the Sunday Times his daughter would go blind in the future.

"I would give it all, and everything else I own, to have our lives back to the 25th of March 2010, the day before this doctor altered our lives forever," he was quoted as saying.

Kerri's mother died in August 2011 from a brain tumour.

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