Ntando Mtshweni could have died last year had doctors not administered a certain chronic medication to resuscitate his collapsing lungs.
He turned one year last Thursday and his father, Michael Mtshweni, is still battling to get Sizwe Medical Aid to settle his medical bill.
Mtshweni's sin is that the doctors who treated his son did not ask for authorisation from Sizwe to administer Curocef on Ntando. He is now sitting with a bill of R36142 , he said.
"They had no time to first seek permission from Sizwe Medical Aid, but did what doctors had to do in emergencies," said Mtshweni.
The doctors wrote to Sizwe to explain what happened but Sizwe ignored them, said Mtshweni.
"They wrote a second letter and Sizwe was not shaken, and now Zuid Afrikaans Hospitaal is demanding R36142 from me."
Ntando stayed in hospital for three months and Sizwe paid for everything except the Curocef.
When his son was discharged, the doctors instructed him to get a breathing gadget, which Sizwe paid for.
"I used that machine for three weeks before I returned it to a private company I was referred to," Mtshweni said.
He said the doctors said his son's life was the first priority than getting permission from Sizwe. They had not encountered problems when faced with emergencies before.
"This did not mean Sizwe would have refused the doctors permission to administer Curocef had they asked first, but now I have become a victim and I'm being penalised because the doctors did not call Sizwe first.
"Is this morally acceptable or fair business practice for Sizwe to penalise me for the wrongs of the doctors?"
Mtshweni said he had been their member for the past nine years and this was the first major claim he had made.
"I cannot understand why they authorised the hospital to book him (Ntando) when they had no intention to pay for medication that saved his life."
His son was crying from pain when admitted in June last year.
At night he got worse and was later wheeled into the intensive care unit where he was treated with Curocef, said Mtshweni.
"It was a death-threatening moment and I thank these doctors for saving his life," he said.
Consumer Line took up his matter with Vassie Govender, who, like they did to Mtshweni before, tried to fob us off.
"Please be advised we have been in contact with Mtshweni telephonically regarding his enquiry, and we are unable to divulge any information to a third party as it will be in breach of our confidentiality policy," said Govender.
Govender accused Mtshweni for seeking Consumer Line's intervention when she called him and still insisted Sizwe would not pay his son's unauthorised medical bill.
Mylord Baloyi, compliance officer at Sizwe, said Curocef was only administered to infants not older than two weeks, but they were willing to discuss and resolve the matter amicably.