Man permitted to sue health MEC

The father of a baby, who allegedly sustained brain damage due to a state hospital's negligence, has been permitted to go ahead with a R15.6 million damages claim against the Gauteng health MEC, the Citizen reported.

Lodewyk Christoffel Smith would be allowed to pursue the claim even though it was not initiated within six months of the incident, Judge Bert Bam ruled.

Smith's wife, Susanna, was 30 weeks pregnant when she went to the Pretoria West Hospital in April 2004. The private hospital sent her home, advising her to have a hot bath and Panado.

She went to the Kalafong Hospital later when her pain and nausea increased. The hospital delivered her baby, Tommie, later that day.

Allegations

Smith's claim rests on the allegation that both hospitals were negligent in their treatment of his wife and son.

Allegedly the Kalafong Hospital used a suction apparatus to speed up the birth, which could have caused intra-cranial haemorrhaging.

He claims that the staff failed to note Tommie's condition and took him off oxygen too soon.

The R15.6 million claim was mainly for his son's future medical needs, loss of earning ability and a curator to look after Tommie's financial needs.

The health MEC denied negligence despite admitting that suction apparatus was used during the birth.

(Sapa, May 2011)

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