News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
31 May 2017
5:50 am

Health MEC to cough up R29.6m for negligence

Ilse de Lange

The gross negligence of state hospital staff has resulted in a little girl suffering from quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

Dr Gwen Malegwale Ramokgopa, Gauteng health MEC. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

The Gauteng health MEC has agreed to pay over R29.6 million to compensate a Soweto family for the gross negligence of state hospital staff, which resulted in a little girl suffering from quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

A settlement reached with Dikonelo Rakgatla, 36, a human resources manager, and Thulo Molefe, 40, a manager, in their claim on behalf of their daughter, Nthatisi (now 10 years old), was confirmed as a court order in the High Court in Pretoria.

The amount, after deduction of their attorney’s costs, will be administered in a trust on behalf of Nthatisi, who will never be able to function independently and will need lifelong 24-hour care.

Rakgatla was already 41 weeks pregnant with Nthatisi – her first child – when the Tladi clinic in Johannesburg referred her to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital for the delivery.

She was then repeatedly given medication to start labour for two whole days before her baby daughter was born in a severe asphyxiated state early the next morning.

She alleged in court papers her daughter’s disability was the result of the failure of hospital staff to properly monitor her and her unborn child, to treat her as a high-risk patient, to perform a Caesarian section and to resuscitate her baby immediately after birth.

She maintained the MEC had also failed to employ, appoint or train sufficiently skilled doctors and nursing staff.

According to expert reports, the little girl had uncontrolled movements of all four limbs which made her care difficult.

She could not sit on her own, had no control over her bladder or bowels, suffered from severe speech and cognitive impairment and required full-time assistance with all aspects of her daily care.

The experts said Nthatisi was aware of what was happening around her and was desperate to communicate with others, but needed specialised education and intervention to give her a better quality of life.

Her parents also needed intervention as both suffered from depression and battled to deal with Nthatisi’s disability.

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