South Africa 28.11.2013 06:00 am

State to pay for three hospitals’ negligence

Image courtesy stock.xchnge (Kurhan)

Image courtesy stock.xchnge (Kurhan)

The health MECs for Limpopo, the North West and Gauteng have agreed to pay over R16,2 million damages to a former boilermaker who was rendered a quadriplegic because of the sub-standard treatment he received at three provincial hospitals.

Daniel Frederick Hermanus Flemming was involved in a car accident in March 2009 in which he sustained a head injury, serious spinal injuries, fractured ribs and a punctured lung.

He was taken to the Thabazimbi hospital, where he was put on a drip but left for hours before he was given any medical attention.

He was not referred for X-rays and was given minimal medical care, as a result of which he discharged himself.

He was thereafter examined by a general practitioner, who sent him for chest X-rays and immediately referred him to the provincial hospital in Rustenburg, where he was placed in traction for eight weeks, resulting in him losing the use of his arms and legs and developing a pressure sore.

He was referred to the George Mukhari hospital where unsuccessful spinal surgery was performed and he was diagnosed as a quadriplegic, with no control over his limbs below the neck, developed further pressure sores and later discharged himself.

Flemming alleged in court papers the hospital staff had been negligent by failing to diagnose the extent of his injuries or to note the potentially serious nature of his spinal injury.

He alleged he should never have been put in traction as the staff should have known it might aggravate his spinal injury and cause irreparable damage.

Flemming, who worked as a boilermaker and construction supervisor, had lived on his own and enjoyed gardening, working on his car, fishing and hunting but now lived with his elderly mother and spent most of his days just watching television.

He is confined to a wheelchair, suffers from depression, will never be able to work again and is dependent on others for his every need.

A psychologist said the family would have been destitute if Flemming’s attorney had not helped them with the rent.

Nicolette Koch of the law firm Adams & Adams said a settlement had been reached in the North Gauteng High Court this week.

The terms of the settlement ordered the Thabazimbi Hospital to pay 10%, the Job Shimankane Tabane hospital 45% and the George Mukhari hospital 45% of the total amount.

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this case,” she said.

 

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