Family launches R8m lawsuit against department of health after twins' mom dies

The woman died after giving birth in hospital
The woman died after giving birth in hospital
Image: Tyler Olson/ 123RF.com

The family of a 27-year-old woman who died after giving birth to twins at a Limpopo hospital has launched a multimillion-rand civil claim against the provincial department of health.

Masale Rakgwatha from Khetlhakoni in Bolobedu, outside Modjadjiskloof, was admitted at Kgapane Provincial Hospital on February 8 where she delivered twins.

In a letter of demand to the department, family lawyer advocate Stephen Monyela said he was instructed by Masale's aunt Winnie Rakgwatha to seek compensation.

"My client instructs me that her niece was admitted at one of your health institutions at Mopani district municipality.," the letter reads.

"The deceased was admitted at Kgapane Hospital on February 8 and the reason for the deceased's admission at the said hospital was to give birth. The deceased was accompanied by her aunt to hospital and it is my client's instructions that upon arrival and given her condition after the doctor examined her, it was recommended that she give birth through Caesarean section.

"On the day succeeding the day she was admitted, her aunt paid a visit. to check if she had given birth and further how she was doing but she was dead."

Provincial health department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said he would not comment on the matter because it was now in court.

However, Monyela confirmed that the department had acknowledged receipt of the letter of demand.

"We are demanding a compensation of R8m for medical negligence, loss of support for the children and emotional suffering for the family. The next step will be issuing summons to the department as no correspondence has come forward since they acknowledged receiving the letter," Monyela said.

Masale's relative Shanten Seshoka said: "The Kgapane Hospital employees, not generalising but specifically the nurses and doctors, they take advantage of the disadvantaged. Firstly, they are not good in communicating [with patients or families], it's like they are doing us a favour but in actual fact, it is their job to serve."

She said the family is now faced with raising the twins.

"The twins are raised by their grandmother who lives in an RDP house and relies on social grant," she said.

Seshoka said they had so many unanswered questions regarding Manale's death.

"Who was the doctor operating? And were there nurses at night to monitor the patient?"

Monyela said they were still waiting for postmortem results.

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