Monday, 15 April, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalDepartment pays R500 000 'humanitarian’ payout for ‘paralysis’ after tooth extraction

Department pays R500 000 'humanitarian’ payout for ‘paralysis’ after tooth extraction

A woman who said she became paralysed after a 2002 tooth extraction at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in the Eastern Cape, and who initially claimed more than R4m from the Health Department, will finally get a ‘gratuitous’ R500 000 payout, originally offered in 2013, according to Health Minister Joe Phaahla.

This is despite no medical evidence corroborating the link between the paralysis and the dental procedure.

In March, Thobeka Priscilla Jantjies (47) had spent a night outside the department’s offices in Bhisho in protest against non-payment of her purported financial claim.

She said the offer of R500 000 by the department had been made when her husband, Thomas, was still alive but the deal had not been formalised.

“They told me the offer was forfeited because he had not signed before he died,” she told the Dispatch.

She said after the extraction, more than two decades ago, she had lost consciousness and was admitted to the hospital as she was unable to walk, see or speak. Her tongue was numb, and it later appeared that the extraction had affected her nerves.

She claimed she had been unable to walk on her own since the incident – although no medical opinion has confirmed the link between the extraction and her apparent paralysis.

In reply to a parliamentary question earlier in September, Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla said Jantjies would be contacted by officials before the end of September with a view to finalising the gratuitous offer by the end of October.

He said the offer was conditional.

“In June 2013, the Eastern Cape Health Department made a conditional offer of R500 000 as a full and final settlement without admission of liability. The offer was made purely on humanitarian grounds,” he said.

Two years previously, in June 2011, Jantjies had submitted an actuarial report through her lawyers demanding a payment of R4.3m, added Phaahla.

“The matter was set down on several dates and we are not aware about any outcomes. There is no court order and essentially the matter is considered dormant. She has been engaging outside the court processes and pressurising the department to pay her R4 355 307.

“The department has one medical report, dated 1 June 2005, which is inconclusive and does not make any recommendations.

“The department is of the opinion that there is no offer, and that it should not revise or entertain her demands. The department is also advised that there was no nexus or causal link between the tooth extraction and the disability.”

Phaahla added that attempts would be made to advise Jantjies that “she has no claim against the department but it would still be prepared to make good on its humanitarian offer”.

The department had previously organised various government departments and the private sector to help Jantjies, and an RDP house had been built for her in Jeffrey’s Bay.

The Vodacom Foundation also donated a cellular shop for her to start a business and earn an income.

Jantjies said she would accept the offer, that she was still bed-ridden and needed constant medical check-ups.

She added that the amount of more than R4m that the department was referring to “was drafted by my lawyers at the time they represented me”.


Dispatch PressReader article – Disabled woman to finally get R500 000 ‘humanitarian’ payout from health department (Open access)


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