Pretoria - Little Omphile Ngwenya will never be able to walk, talk or eat by herself, due to the negligence of some doctors and nurses at Pholosong Hospital in Brakpan.
The now five-year-old was born in 2012 with brain damage after the medical staff at both this hospital and at the KwaThema Clinic failed to act fast enough when it was realised that the foetus was in distress.
It appeared that Omphile was too large for her mother Lindiwe Ngwenya’s pelvis to handle. She urgently needed to have a caesarean section to be performed, but due to the dragging of the heels of the staff and doctors, this was done too late.
By the time she was eventually born in the early hours of March 24 2012, Omphile suffered severe lack of oxygen, leaving her with permanent brain damage.
She now suffers from severe cerebral palsy.
Her mother instituted a damages claim against the Gauteng Health Department, in which she claimed more than R34million.
Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa yesterday agreed to settle the matter and pay an amount of nearly R19.2million to the child’s mother.
The money will, however, be kept in a trust account and solely be used to make the little girl’s life easier.
Her mother will receive a tiny portion of R13 5907 as compensation for caring for the child to date.
Ngwenya endured severe hardships in taking care of her daughter up to now, without any compensation. Her only income was a child support grant of R380 a month, which she received for each of her four children.
The former domestic worker and cleaner had to give up her job in order to take care of the helpless child.
It was said that a doctor at Pholosong Hospital told the authorities she did not qualify for a care dependency grant.
She and Omphile also had to share a two-room RDP house with several other family members.
The court was told that Ngwenya had a normal pregnancy, until she went to the clinic on March 23 2012 with contractions. It was established that the foetus was in distress and she was transferred to the hospital.
But by the time the caesarean section was performed it was too late, and the baby had already suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. She was also born with a dislocated knee.
It was found that the staff at both the clinic and hospital were negligent. The clinic did not inform the hospital staff about the foetal distress, and the latter did not monitor the mother sufficiently to realise that an emergency caesarean had to be performed.
Apart from not being able to ever care for herself, Omphile also suffers from epilepsy. Ngwenya has to feed her pureed food as she cannot swallow properly, by using a syringe.
Her lawyer Monica Janse van Rensburg of Gert Nel Inc Attorneys said they were happy with the settlement.