Doctor cleared to sue colleague over amputation
A medical doctor who was shot during a robbery at his practice in Standerton, Mpumalanga, and had his one leg amputated will now be able to prove the damages he suffered.
He got the go-ahead after one of the doctors ‘liable for the amputation’ lost his appeal.
Dr Abdus Patel instituted an R11.4m claim against his colleagues for the amputation of his leg. He said if Dr Aboo Baker Joosub and Dr Frederick Louw had acted quickly after he was shot, he would have saved his leg.
A Pretoria News report notes that the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) earlier found Patel’s colleagues could not be blamed and turned down the claim.
Patel subsequently appealed to a full Bench, which found Louw should be held accountable. Louw turned to the SCA, which turned down his appeal. Patel was accosted by two men at his home surgery on 7 August, 2009 during which he was robbed and shot in the thigh.
The bullet shattered the femur into two pieces, transacted an artery and injured a vein.
Louw was on call at the Standerton Hospital and promised to tend to Patel as soon as he was done with an appendectomy that was scheduled for later.
Louw found there was a possibility of a vascular injury, which could not be treated at the Standerton Hospital.
Pretoria News reports that he decided to transfer Patel to the Pretoria East Hospital, but it was not equipped to deal with this type of injury. He was subsequently transported to the Pretoria Heart Hospital but the lack of blood and oxygen to his leg led to it having to be amputated.
Patel said his colleagues were negligent, as they should have transferred him to a facility with vascular facilities, and should have ordered his transfer to Pretoria via helicopter.
On appeal in the SCA, Louw held he was not at fault as he did all he could under the circumstances.
The finding of the full Bench that Louw be held liable for the damages was based on an acceptance of the evidence of an expert that the leg would almost certainly have been salvaged if blood flow was restored within four hours of the injury, as opposed to the nine hours and 30 minutes that it took.
The Supreme Court, in turning down Louw’s appeal, agreed with this finding.
The amount of damages payable to Patel is to be determined later.
Article disclaimer: While we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide final legal advice as facts and situations will differ from case to case, and therefore specific legal advice should be sought with a lawyer.