Durban - Four-year-old Nomfundo Skhosana, of Inanda, is like a newborn baby.

Born mentally and physically handicapped, she has irreversible brain damage, is blind, partially deaf and will remain totally dependent on others for the rest of her life.

Her mother, Bonakele Skhosana, 24, who is suing the MEC for Health in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for R9.8 million, says her condition is because of medical negligence at the Newtown C Clinic and Mahatma Gandhi Hospital.

The department conceded liability last week, agreeing to pay 90 percent of the proven damages, which will be determined after further court action next year.

When Skhosana went to the clinic and later the hospital to give birth, staff failed to adequately monitor the maternal and foetal conditions during the latent phase of labour, or to monitor her high blood pressure. This, she said, resulted in Nomfundo’s condition.

Skhosana’s attorney, Renier Jacobs, of Friedman and Associates, said on Wednesdaythe final amount awarded would be determined next year.

He said he was pleased the department had conceded liability, which prevented a costly, lengthy trial. “The longer the case takes, the longer it takes… to get compensation.”

Skhosana said

Nomfundo visited a speech therapist twice weekly, and an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist once a week.

Skhosana said her life had come to a halt as looking after Nomfundo was a full-time job.

At 5am, Nomfundo has the first of about four daily nappy changes. Everything she eats has to be softened and it takes half an hour to feed her a meal.

Bathing and dressing her is also a difficult and lengthy process.

Skhosana’s mother stays with them and runs a spaza shop. This is the only source of income, apart from Nomfundo’s disability grant.

The Mercury