A couple from Bon Accord, in Pretoria, have won the first leg of their R20.4 million damages claim against Gauteng health MEC Dr. Gwen Malegwale Ramokgopa.
Liz-Marie Booyse and Jacob Jonker had roped the provincial Health Department MEC to court after the negligence of Tshwane District Hospital staff left their son, Johannes, with severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
Booyse went into labour on February 7, 2010, but was sent home after the hospital told her she was experiencing false labour. After she managed to return to the hospital the next evening, she was left unattended for over two hours.
After Johannes’ birth, the staff allegedly deprived him an oxygen, leading to the severe brain damage. He was even unable to feed through the mouth.
Booyse, a stock controller of Bon Accord, instituted the massive damages claim in their personal capacity and on behalf of their son and as a result of his present condition.
The parents claimed R7.5 million damages for their son’s medical costs, special equipment, therapy, future loss of earnings and three full-time caregivers for the remainder of his life.
After examining and hearing the evidence of the doctors and nurses and that of medical experts, Gauteng High Court judge Wendy Hughes ruled the staff who attended to Johannes during his birth seven years ago was negligent.
Hughes buttressed that Johannes’ brain wouldn’t have been damaged had it been the staff acted when she discovered that all was not well with the foetus, adding that his condition wouldn’t have been complicated if the staff had resuscitated the newborn shortly after his birth.
“The only conclusion is that if the proper procedures had been followed, the result could have been avoided,” Judge Hughes said.
The court buttressed that the Health MEC was 100% responsible for Johannes’ brain damage.
Meanwhile, the amount to be paid by the Health MEC is yet to be determined by a civil trial.