Healthcare neglect costs millions

Negligence or malpractice at public hospitals has cost the Health Department millions of rands in damages over the past few years, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said.

Negligence or malpractice at public hospitals has cost the Health Department millions of rands in damages over the past few years, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said.

But such cases were rare exceptions to the usually excellent care provided at state hospitals, she said in a written reply to a parliamentary question by the DA's Gareth Morgan.

Among the successful claimants in the Eastern Cape during the 2006-07 financial year, was a patient who received R261150 following a "hip resurfacing operation" at the Port Elizabeth Provincial Hospital, which resulted in a "left-sided drop foot".

An incident at St Elizabeth Hospital cost R10000 for the claimant's "emotional shock due to the removal of certain body parts from the deceased's body".

Cases pending in the Free State, included a R1,2million claim from a patient who "overdosed" and was admitted to the Pelenomi Hospital.

"He now alleges that the doctors and nurses were negligent as activated carbon landed in his lungs when the nasogastric tubes were placed into his stomach, resulting in him now suffering from 'adult respiratory distress syndrome, post-traumatic stress syndrome, lung damage, respiratory problems, convulsions' and so on."

Claims settled during the 2006-07 financial year in KwaZulu-Natal, included R1million to a patient at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital.

In Limpopo, a maternity patient at Polokwane Hospital successfully claimed R78121,23 after her baby was swapped with another patient's baby following a Caesarean section.

Successful claims in Mpumalanga included a patient at Rob Ferreira Hospital who got R5899156 for loss of sight after childbirth, because of the negligence of medical staff. - Sapa

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