Brain-damaged boy gets R8.35m

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

The Gauteng health MEC has been ordered to pay more than R8.35 million damages to a North West mother whose son was born with severe brain damage because of a prolonged lack of oxygen during his birth at a state hospital.

Judge Dawie Fourie yesterday ordered the MEC to compensate 35-year-old single mother Trudie Buys for the damages she and her son Carlisle sustained as the result of the negligence of staff who attended to her during her son’s birth at the Tshwane District Hospital in February 2010.

Buys, an administrative clerk, had to stop working to take care of her son, who was rendered a cerebral quadriplegic and needed around-the-clock care.

Carlisle is unable to sit up by himself, has to be fed through a tube and has, according to experts, a life expectancy of just 12½ years.

The family’s attorney, Adele van der Walt, said they were satisfied with the amount that was awarded – the bulk of which was for the boy’s future medical and related costs.

However, she expressed concern that no steps have so far been taken against the nurses involved.

Buys was already 42 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the state hospital. She testified she was told to push “as hard as she could” even though she was totally exhausted after hours of labour.

She said two or three doctors or nurses had pushed on top of her abdomen to push her baby down into the birth canal. She could hear that her son was struggling to breathe and was having seizures immediately after his birth.

According to expert evidence, Buys was a high-risk patient who should have been monitored closely, but was left alone for over an hour at a critical stage of her prolonged labour.

A senior gynaecologist said the baby’s head should never have been forced through the pelvis and a Caesarean section should have been performed.



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