Tuesday, 9 August, 2022
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13 years after brain-damaged birth, court orders Eastern Cape Health to provide hospital record

A Nelson Mandela Bay mother, whose child was born with severe brain damage after problems during birth, intends suing Dora Nginza Hospital and Eastern Cape Health forR4.2m, reports Weekend Post.

According to a Weekend Post report, authorities at Dora Nginza have allegedly ignored an Eastern Cape High Court (Gqeberha) order to furnish the mother and her attorney with copies of her hospital record. The Eastern Cape Health Department has forked out R3.4bn in medico-legal claims between the 2014/2015 financial year and February this year, with billions still expected to be paid out in yet-to-be-processed claims.

The woman’s attorney, Francois Swanepoel, brought an application against the hospital under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, asking a judge to order it to release his client’s medical file. The woman alleges the infant suffered irreversible and severe brain damage due to negligence of hospital staff during the delivery.

The exact details of what allegedly went wrong are not yet contained in court papers.

In upholding Swanepoel’s request, the court ordered the hospital to hand over all paediatric records in respect of her son, who is now 13, as well as the mother’s maternity case record and her hospital file. Swanepoel said he was uncertain why the mother had taken this long to seek legal advice, but there was no cut-off date for a parent or legal guardian to approach the court on behalf of a minor.

Health Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said if a court order were issued, Dora Nginza would have to comply, adding that all legal claims would have been sent to the state attorney. Kupelo said the stance of the department was that it would defend every medico-legal claim.

Full Weekend Post report – Mother of brain-damaged baby sues for R4.2m (Restricted access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:

Hospital infant deaths rocket but Bhisho’s not listening…

R4bn in claims brings Eastern Cape Health close to collapse


Eastern Cape Health slammed over negligence claims


Coronavirus chaos: BBC goes inside SA's 'hospitals of horrors’

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