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R5m in damages for Gauteng man

Oct 07 2012 14:01 Sapa

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Johannesburg - A man who suffered brain damaged at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in 2005 was awarded R5m plus costs in the High Court in Johannesburg, the DA said on Sunday.

The R5m medical negligence payment plus costs was awarded to Nicholaas van Niekerk, 30, on Wednesday, spokesman Jack Bloom said in a statement.

However, Gauteng health department spokesman Simon Zwane could not confirm this.

"I don't know about it," he said.

Bloom claimed the department paid out more than R44m this year in medical negligence claims.

This included R11.6m awarded to Ntokozo Skhosana, eight, who suffered brain damage at the Far East Rand Hospital in 2004.

"The Gauteng health department has lost every single medical negligence case in the courts in the last two years," Bloom said.

Van Niekerk's compensation was to cover loss of earnings, future medical expenses and general damages for pain and suffering, impairment, loss of the amenities of life.

Van Niekerk had a heart attack during a maxillo-facial procedure after his endo-tracheal tube became obstructed.

"Hospital care must improve radically, otherwise negligence pay-outs will hit the health budget hard," said Bloom.

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