Pretoria - The mother of a toddler who fell out of his hospital bed while being treated for pneumonia is set to receive R150 000 in damages from the Gauteng MEC for Health.
The mother, Danelia Hlako, of Mamelodi East, initially claimed R800 000 in damages in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, following her son Tshiamo Hlako’s fall.
The health authorities defended the action up to the door of the court, where on Monday, a few minutes before the trial was due to start, they eventually relented and accepted full liability for Tshiamo’s injuries.
They agreed to pay his mother R150 000 in damages, on behalf of her son.
Nurses at Mamelodi Hospital had, from the start, insisted that the little boy, who was then 2 years old, “jumped” out of his cot and injured himself.
This was also stated in their medical notes.
But the child’s mother said her son was under their care and they should have prevented him from falling out of the bed.
Tshiamo, who is now nearly 4, was admitted to the hospital on March 21, 2015 to be treated for pneumonia.
His mother was told a few days later that he had “jumped” out of his bed, during which he fractured his leg. It was placed in plaster of Paris.
But his mother noticed five days later that he had a bump on his head and that his speech was slurred.
The child was referred to Steve Biko Hospital for a brain scan, which revealed a skull fracture.
He was prescribed anti-epileptic medication and referred to a speech therapist before he was referred back to Mamelodi Hospital for further treatment.
The child was eventually discharged on April 27, 2015.
The mother held the hospital staff responsible for the incident.
She said the boy was too little to jump out of bed and that it was clear that he fell out.
Hlako said the child was under their care at the time, and they should have prevented him from falling out of his bed and fracturing his leg and skull.
According to the mother, her child was already ill when he was admitted to hospital and due to the negligence of the staff, he had to suffer further and stayed even longer.
Apart from her child having to undergo further treatment in future for his head injury, one of his legs is now also shorter than the other.
Health authorities had up to Monday maintained that the child was mostly to blame for his ill fortune as he “jumped out of bed”.
JP Nel, the mother’s advocate, told the Pretoria News that the R150 000 settlement was reasonable under the circumstances.