Authorities must pay R4.8m for truck driver’s delayed op
Pretoria - The Limpopo MEC for Health has been ordered by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to pay R4.8 million in damages to a truck driver who needed surgery.
He is now no longer able to work because doctors at a provincial hospital dragged their feet in operating on him in time after he broke his ankle.
The court earlier ordered that the health authorities were 100% liable to pay the damages which Edwin Maphosa could prove that he had suffered as a result of the negligence of the doctors.
The court was told that he was “unceremoniously” hauled from a truck in which he was a passenger at the time, by the police in 2010, during which he broke his ankle.
He was taken to the Musina Hospital for treatment and later transferred to the Tshilidzini Hospital in Thohoyandou where he was treated for weeks before doctors decided to operate on his ankle.
Medical experts said the failure to operate immediately was extremely negligent, as it should have been attended to immediately.
His right ankle was left compromised and the joints are now unable to move in any manner.
The court said: “It's safe to say that he was ill-treated by the authorities.”
Maphosa lives on the Zimbabwean side of Beitbridge and is the father of five. He is now an informal trader as a way to try and make ends meet.
While he has little formal training or schooling, he took over his father’s welding businesses before the accident and he employed his brothers. He also drove trucks to generate further income. The court was told that he was proud of being able to provide a good life for his family.
However, the fact that he now has to walk on crutches and the fact that his other joints have also been affected, he can no longer run his welding business. The court was told that he struggled to work and is in constant pain.
One of his brothers, out of sympathy, employed Maphosa to do some deliveries – a task which he can only do with great difficulty as he struggles to stand or walk for long periods.
Experts testified that as a welder, Maphosa had a bleak future due to his stiff ankle and there were no prospects of him driving a truck again.
The court was told that Maphosa was, however, a resourceful person and with a bit of cash, he would be able to start a business.
The court ordered that R4.8m would be adequate compensation in this case.