Several patients in KwaZulu-Natal are seeking legal recourse because of botched medical procedures at government hospitals.
The provincial health department’s 2018-2019 annual report says it is dealing with a backlog of over R20 billion in medical negligence claims.
Twenty-two-year-old Sduduzo Gumede, who is a first-time mother to a young baby girl, is one of the patients seeking legal recourse.
Gumede gave birth through a C-section three months ago at a hospital in Chatsworth, Durban.
She says she lives in pain, claiming a botched medical procedure.
“I was cut, then they said the wound has an infection and it’s complicated after that they tried to close it back and they never closed it. They just left it like that. It’s painful every day, even when I sleep, I can’t just move. I have to sleep on one side, I can’t turn, it’s always painful.”
The KwaZulu-Natal Health Department says it is aware of Gumede’s case and is investigating the matter.
Earlier this year, The Democratic Alliance (DA) said over R300 million from the Gauteng Health Department’s bank accounts was attached to pay out court-ordered medical negligence cases.
DA Health Spokesperson Jack Bloom says the payments, taken from April 2019 to date, were court-ordered settlements for medical negligence in Gauteng public hospitals mostly relating to brain damage to new-born babies.
Bloom says he welcomes the department’s shift towards mediation in an attempt to settle these cases as this will speed up cases and reduce expensive lawyers’ fees. -Additional reporting by Tshepo Phagane.