The Gauteng Health Department’s potential medical liability has increased as a result of a judgment that has awarded R1.1m damages to the mother of a girl (2) who died after complications suffered at a public hospital.

In a statement on the Politicsweb site, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health Jack Bloom said courts have previously not ordered payouts after the death of a child patient – as pain and suffering was not usually recognised, and no loss of earnings capacity can be calculated if the patient was not a breadwinner.

However, according to a recent judgment by Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) Acting Judge Brad Wanless, the Natalspruit and Chris Hani Baragwanath hospitals were negligent by failing to speedily diagnose the child’s brain condition and treat her properly.

Wanless recognised that ‘no amount of monetary compensation will ever be enough to alleviate a parent’s loss of a child. Particularly so when the child is so young.’

Bloom said this latest judgment gives added urgency for the department to radically improve medical treatment to minimise the huge suffering caused by medical mistakes in public hospitals.

Full statement on the Politicsweb site