The Mpumalanga MEC for health is 100 percent liable for the damages claimed by a mother who suffered such grave complications when her child was delivered using forceps at the Groblersdal Hospital, that she will never again be able to have normal bodily functions.
The woman, now 46, is claiming nearly R1.2 million from the MEC following her harrowing ordeal.
Pretoria High Court Acting Judge Pieter van der Bijl ordered that an interim payment of R700 000 had to be made to the mother at this stage, until the court at a later date determined how much damages in total she should receive.
The woman, who is not being identified to protect her dignity, was admitted to the hospital on February 10, 2002, and delivered with the assistance of forceps the following day.
She testified that she was in hospital for a week following the birth because she was in considerable pain, “miserable” and had no control over her bowel movements.
The woman thought this was normal in the aftermath of childbirth.
It was only later discovered that during the birth there was a large tear of the perineum caused during the delivery.
This also affected her anal sphincter muscle, which was improperly stitched by “someone”, who according to a medical expert, “did not know what he was doing”.
This left the woman incontinent and passing faeces through her vagina. She was unable to have sex again or have any more children. Her condition is permanent.
In spite of the pain she was enduring, she was discharged from hospital a week after giving birth, without anyone telling her what her condition was.
As she was in agony, she consulted a doctor who noticed the tear. According to him she should have delivered her baby by Caesarean section, as the baby was too big to be delivered vaginally. He said this was the reason why the tear was so long. But, he said, things would not have turned out this way if she had been treated by more experienced medical practitioners.
The doctor said he regarded the situation as “a disaster” and again admitted her to hospital. The woman at the time said all she wanted was “that someone would help her”.
The complications were of such a nature that the doctor could not assist her and he told her her condition would remain the same for the rest of her life. It was explained to her that her condition was due to a “mistake” on the part of the medical practitioners during delivery of the baby. The court, however, found that it was due to the negligence of the doctors and nurses at the time.
The woman, in her damages claim, said the staff were negligent as they failed to properly repair the tear or to join the affected muscle ends. She also complained that she was prematurely discharged from hospital. - Pretoria News