Judge Annali Basson in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered the MEC to compensate the boy for the damage he sustained during his birth in February 2003. The amount is to be administered through a trust on behalf of the boy. The MEC had already made an interim payment of R1.5 million to the boy’s mother in terms of a court order granted last September.
The boy sustained a fractured arm and nerve damage during birth and, as a result, lost the function of his right arm. Basson found he also sustained a diffuse brain injury due to a lack of oxygen during his birth.
The MEC admitted liability for the damage to the boy’s arm, but disputed that he had suffered brain damage. The court accepted reports from experts stating the baby boy’s Apgar score (a method to quickly summarise the health of newborn children) had been very low after his birth.
A clinical psychologist concluded in a report the child had in fact suffered a brain injury, following a hypoxic (oxygen deprived) episode. A neuropsychologist concluded that the boy had lasting cognitive, emotional, behavioural and personality problems due to the trauma experienced at birth.