Monday 24 March 2014
Leila Samodien–Justice Writer
Mother Finally Gets Day in Court
The surviving twin was later diagnosed with quadriplegia due to cerebral palsy
The case of a mother who is suing over alleged negligent treatment during her pregnancy and the birth of her twins – one died and the other was left disabled – is to be heard in the Western Cape High Court in the coming weeks.
It is almost five years since the mother filed the R14.9 million lawsuits.
The 29 year –old is suing the office of the MEC for Health in the Western Cape , which is defending the action.
According to Court papers, she had a monochorionic and monoamniotic pregnancy, meaning that the twins shared a placenta and an amniotic sac.
She contends that she was a high- risk patient and that Groote Schuur Hospital , where she gave birth in April 2006, should have arranged for her to undergo an elective caesarean section.
More complications has arisen during labour and she alleges that the hospital staff tried to force the delivery of one of the twins through vacuum extraction and forceps, resulting in the baby’s death. She should then have been taken to theatre for an emergency caesarean section to preserve the life of the other baby, as well as prevent injury, her papers say.
One of the twins was stillborn while the other required resuscitation because of severe hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) during labour .
The surviving twin was later diagnosed with quadriplegia due to cerebral palsy. He will never be able to work or look after himself.
The MEC denies negligence , saying in court papers that although it was queried , it was never confirmed beyond doubt that the mother was experiencing a monochorionic twin pregnancy.
In full appreciation that she was a high – risk patient, repeated ultrasound examinations and studies had been done to ensure the wellbeing of the foetuses and to exclude all reasonably foreseeable complications of that type of twin pregnancy, the MEC’s papers said.
The MEC also defended the use of vacuum extraction and the application of forceps.
In the circumstances, where she had not progressed to the next stage of labour after one hour of being fully dilated, the use of vacuum extraction had been acceptable. No excessive force had been used.
The hearing of the merits of the case, which involves determining whether the defendant is liable for damages, was expected to begin last month but was postponed.
This was because advocate Nazreen Bawa, who had been briefed to act for the MEC since the litigation began and had prepared for the matter, was unavailable as she had been appointed as evidence leader in Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into the township.
Attorney Tzvi Brivik, representing the mother, said the matter had been postponed to the next available date, April 30.