KZN Health faces claim from 18 years ago

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In yet another negligence claim against the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department, the mother of an 18-year-old is suing for R5m in damages after he was born disabled. In the most recent case, the Newcastle woman said her son’s mental and physical disabilities were caused by the provincial hospital’s negligence when she gave birth 18 years ago, says a Daily News report. Thulisile Mfusi's application for condonation was granted in the Durban High Court by acting Judge Sharon Marks.

The Health Department is opposing her claim, arguing she should have done so when her child was born. It also had no knowledge of the allegations as proof has not been provided.

Mfusi argued she had to resort to this legal action as the department had ignored the notice of her claim sent by her attorney three years ago. She said her late application was due to her being a lay person, unaware of her own rights, and her child's, until she had consulted an attorney in 2011. She only learnt of the hospital staff's alleged negligence being responsible for her son's condition after being referred to a specialist paediatrician when she consulted an attorney.

The paediatrician claimed her son suffered from specific cerebral palsy damage as a result of oxygen deprivation at the time of birth. Mfusi holds the Health MEC liable for what happened and is claiming compensation for future medical expenses, future loss of earnings for the child, general damages for pain and suffering, disability and loss of enjoyment of the amenities of life for her child. She said the department had not consented to the condonation because medical records were destroyed five years ago.

Full Daily News report

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