The Gauteng health department faces a R30m damages claim after a child was born with severe brain damage at Natalspruit Hospital due to medical staff negligence. The mother, seeking justice, filed the claim, citing cerebral palsy in her child. According to IOL, her demand includes R18.7 million for future medical expenses and R3.6 million for the pain endured. The incident traces back to 2012 when the mother, despite an uneventful pregnancy, experienced complications during labour. Allegations suggest nine hours of neglect during which necessary interventions were not made. Consequently, the child has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and developmental delays. Despite initial denial, the health department’s experts admitted substandard care during the trial.
The court noted lapses in monitoring and timely interventions, concluding staff negligence. Despite objections citing timing, the court ruled in favour of the mother, recognising her need for expert consultation before filing the claim. The health department is deemed fully liable for the damages caused by negligence. The exact amount remains to be determined.
This case sheds light on systemic failures within healthcare, stressing the need for stringent monitoring protocols and accountability measures. It also underscores the importance of timely interventions in preventing birth-related complications. As legal proceedings unfold, it prompts reflection on the broader implications for maternal and neonatal care across South Africa.
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