R2.8 million damages awarded after child’s legs amputated

The High Court in Pretoria has made a R2.8 million damages award to a child whose legs were amputated because of poor medical treatment in a state hospital.

Six-year-old Tembisa Kometsi’s legs were amputated on October 9, 2009, in the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic hospital, Beeld reported today.

She was admitted a month earlier after her arms and hands were burnt by boiling water.

According to the newspaper, the court found that hospital staff were negligent in their monitoring and treatment of Kometsi, and that she become dehydrated, which affected the circulation in her lower legs.

She developed gangrene, and her legs had to be partially amputated.

Beeld reported the court declared the Gauteng health MEC, under whose jurisdiction the state hospital falls, liable for damages resulting from the operation.

Lawyer Olof Joubert told the newspaper there was still a pending dispute with the health department over an amount of R16.1m for Kometsi’s prosthetic needs.

There was also a pending dispute over a R1.2m claim for future loss of income, Joubert said.

– Sapa