Botched op payout

A MPUMALANGA woman who cannot speak after a botched operation was yesterday paid over R630000 by the health department.

A MPUMALANGA woman who cannot speak after a botched operation was yesterday paid over R630000 by the health department.

Aileen Peggy Meiring sued the province's health department after her vocal cords were accidentally cut during an operation to remove her thyroid glands.

Thyroid glands are the glands that control human metabolism.

The operation was done by a doctor known only as Dr Mario at Witbank Hospital in 2007.

Meiring sued the department for malpractice and demanded R2million.

The department was ordered by the Pretoria high court last November to pay her R580000, together with interest of 15,5percent from October 22 2008.

This week, she was forced to return to court as the department had not paid the money.

Meiring said because former health MEC Fish Mahlalela "blatantly" ignored the court order, she found herself in a stalemate position in that there was nothing she could do to enforce the judgment in her favour.

According to court papers, the national Health Department's senior legal advisor Shahina Morgan stated that they were unable to pay as they were waiting for money from the treasury.

The DA in Mpumalanga described the incident as "shocking".

"We believe that the doctor should be suspended with immediate effect and be probed as to whether or not he can do the job," DA leader Anthony Benadie said.

"There is nothing more painful than a person who has trust in state institutions having their lives destroyed forever by the same facilities that should protect them," said Benadie.

The payment was made yesterday, seven months later, adding another R52462.19 to Meiring's money.

Meiring, who uses a tracheotomy in order to talk, said: "I cannot believe that I will be forced to use this for the rest of my life.

"The money is not enough because I'm permanently unable to talk," she said.

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