A Ha Thetsane family has expressed disappointment over a civil case they opened against Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital which has been pending before the High Court since October 2013.
Moletsane Mpopo (29) and his 28-year-old wife, Lerato, sued the hospital for M14 million on 15 October 2013 following the birth of their son at the facility.
According to papers filed by Mr Mpopo before the High Court, the baby was born in June 2012 “with permanent brain damage and permanent mental and physical disabilities, among others, all caused by the defendant’s employees’ recklessness and negligence”.
Mr Mpopo narrates in the court papers that the hospital staff kept his wife “for several hours” before giving her the assistance she needed.
“When they eventually attended to her, they did so in the most reckless and unprofessional manner in that they inter alia attempted to push the baby out by sheer use of force. When their unskillful and reckless attempts to deliver the baby failed, they belatedly took my wife into theatre for a caesarian section which they recklessly performed anyway,” says Mr Mpopo.
“At the end of the said belated trials and errors on the part of the defendant’s employees, the baby was born with permanent brain damage and permanent mental and physical disabilities among others.”
As a result of the “negligence”, Mr Mpopo says his son would not be able to do anything for himself for the rest of his life, hence the family’s demand for M14million in compensation.
“The sum herein sought will never come anywhere near making good the damage inflicted on my child by the defendant’s employees,” he further says.
Mr Mpopo says M5million is for “lifelong disfigurement, deformity and disabilities”, M3million for “loss of amenities”, M5million for “future loss of earning capacity”, M500 000 for “future medical expenses” and M500 000 for “lifelong emotional stress”.
The compensation is being sought at an interest rate of 18.5% per annum.
Mr Mpopo is also claiming costs of the suit.
However, the couple this week said the family was disappointed that the case remains pending in the court three years on.
“Since the birth of our child, our lives have become one big pain. Seeing him is a constant reminder that he will never enjoy a normal life,” said Ms Mpopo, who is a third-year student at the National University of Lesotho.
“And since this court case started, I have been emotionally drained. The case is eating us up and with it dragging like this, it feels like the system is denying us justice.
“It is taking way too long, and I can’t even concentrate on my studies because each time something comes up, I have to consult with my lawyer.”
A report of the child’s brain-scan done on 24 August 2015, reads in part: “… The injury pattern in this brain is global and profound. The degree of the destruction and nondescript pattern involving both the periphery and deep grey nuclei suggest a catastrophic, persistent and profound hypoxic ischemic injury of the supratentorial brain”.
King’s Counsel Salemane Phafane, who is representing the family in the case, said he could not comment on the matter.
“I won’t go into the details of the case since it’s still before the court, but what I can say is that ultimately, justice shall be served,” Advocate Phafane said.