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State ‘drags feet’ in R2m damages claim


THE Eastern Cape health MEC faces a R2-million lawsuit over medical negligence.

Ndoda Alfred Magoswana lodged medicalthe case against the health department after an allegedly botched appendix operation left him partly deformed and unable to work.

His attorney Mzwamadoda Mancotywa of Mancotywa Ndzabela Inc said the case was due to appear in the East London High Court on Wednesday, but it was postponed as the attorney representing the department was not fully prepared.

He stressed that the R2-million represented the loss suffered by Magoswana, but it was “not the final determination”.

“We still have to refer Magoswana to further experts,” he said, adding the sum was likely to grow.

The state denies liability for Magoswana’s injuries, the attorney said.

Department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo referred queries to the state attorney’s office, where a Ms Sakaza, who would not give her first name, confirmed she was working on the matter. Sakaza declined to comment, saying the matter was sub judice. “I cannot discuss this any further,” she said on Wednesday.

Magoswana was admitted to Frere Hospital in 2009 with stomach pain, Mancotywa said, and was diagnosed as having appendicitis.

He underwent surgery to remove his appendix and was discharged from hospital.

The wound became septic and despite numerous visits to state hospitals his injury was not resolved, the attorney claims.

As a result, Magoswana’s abdomen was damaged, preventing the former panelbeater from working.

He has been unemployed since the operation and, as a single breadwinner with three common-law wives and three children, he is struggling to make ends meet, Mancotywa said.

Mancotywa added that the current sum included only loss of earning capacity and general damages, but excluded Magoswana’s past and future medical expenses.

Mancotywa said he had been working on the case since 2010, but was only able to file papers in court after a lengthy battle with the health department to release Magoswana’s medical records.

Papers were filed in June 2012 and the case has been postponed twice.

Mancotywa said he was frustrated by the delay, as was his client.

“Even now [Magoswana] was fighting with me about what he was going to do about his kids,” he said.

The soonest date suggested by the civil court registrar was November 2014, he said.

“How is Magoswana going to look after his family with all these delays?”

Originally published in the Daily Dispatch.

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