R15m settlement after failure to monitor foetus with CTG

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An Aliwal North woman has secured a R15m settlement from Eastern Cape Health after the negligence of staff at two hospitals led to her baby being born with cerebral palsy. A Daily Dispatch report says expert medical opinion sought by the Health Department when its lawyers were assessing whether to defend the claim concluded “it might be very difficult to defend this case” because of the “obvious substandard care” of not properly monitoring the foetus using a cardiotocography (CTG) test.

The department’s own expert said: “The absence of the CTG recordings is a breach of duty.” The heavily pregnant woman was referred from Aliwal North Hospital to Frontier Hospital in Komani. She was referred back to her home hospital as a “low risk” patient by Frontier staff but was never taken back, leaving her without critical care throughout the day as her condition deteriorated.

The settlement agreement between the woman and the department was made an order of court in the Eastern Cape High Court (Bhisho). The mother was awarded a total of R15m – R13.4m for damages on behalf of the minor child, R0.5m for herself and R1.08m for the costs of a trust to manage the award for the child and ensure permanent future medical and other care.

Full Daily Dispatch report

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