Johannesburg - An urgent application has been brought before the High Court in Pretoria to ensure a 12-year-old Somali girl receives life-saving surgery, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) said on Wednesday.
“She arrived in South Africa on July 4 as an asylum-seeker with the intention of applying for refugee status after fleeing conflict in Somalia,” LHR said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, before being able to apply, she collapsed, complaining of weakness, a fever and vomiting.”
The girl was taken to Kalafong Hospital in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, on July 5. According to her brother she had a serious heart condition.
The girl required immediate surgery, and was transferred to Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.
Once there, the girl's brother was told she could not be admitted as she had no documentation and could not pay the R250 000 deposit for the surgery.
“As a result she was sent back to Kalafong, where she remains,” LHR said.
All indications from doctors were that the girl, described as “severely emaciated” was very ill and needed an urgent operation to save her life, prompting LHR's application.
“Without the surgery her chances of survival are not good.”
LHR said in terms of Section 27 and 28 of the Constitution, which made provision for emergency medical care, the hospital was compelled to perform the surgery.
“LHR is of the view that the payment of a deposit should not negate the need for such urgent intervention and will challenge this requirement at a later stage,” it said.
The application was expected to be heard on Friday morning.