Paramedic 'careless'

KWAZULU-NATAL MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo said yesterday he respected the high court judgment on the matter between himself and a Gauteng woman.

"Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo respects the high court judgment on the matter between [him] and the Gauteng woman and is waiting for the written judgment in order to make a decision on further action," Dhlomo's spokesperson, Chris Maxon, said in a statement.

A Bedfordview woman took the KwaZulu-Natal health department to the Pietermaritzburg high court after she was allegedly infected with the HIV virus by the department's paramedic who helped her 10 years ago.

On Wednesday Judge Shimon Patel ruled that the paramedic failed to treat the woman with the degree of skill and care of a reasonable paramedical professional.

He attended to the woman after he "worked on" a pedestrian who was killed when the car the woman was travelling in crashed near the Mooi River toll plaza on August 31 2000.

Three Johannesburg doctors and two specialists estimated she became infected about the time of the collision.

Patel said the paramedic should have foreseen that, with the high incidence of HIV, and with two people with open, bleeding wounds, there was a risk of cross-contamination.

Patel ordered that the health department be held liable for damages the woman may be found to have suffered.