R1m bid over loss of hearing

16 Jan

A Gugulethu man has instituted a R920 000 damages action in the Western Cape High Court, claiming that he went deaf following TB treatment at a city clinic.

Ntobeko Reginald Makeleni, 41, alleges in papers filed at the high court that both ears have been affected and that he is unable to work as a general labourer or perform ordinary household chores.

He is suing the City of Cape Town, which controls the Gugulethu Clinic, where he was treated five years ago.

According to his court papers, he attended the clinic in November 2005, when he was diagnosed with TB.

He returned to the clinic in July 2006 for treatment and was given streptomycin injections and other medication.

However, the treatment soon started to affect his hearing and he reported the effects to clinic staff.

On July 24 that year, the clinic sent him to Brooklyn Chest Hospital for tests.

However, Makeleni said in his papers that the injections led to auditory ototoxicity (chemical damage to the inner ear).

He further alleged that staff at the clinic were negligent for failing to inform him that the injections could lead to auditory ototoxicity, and should have monitored his hearing to ensure that it was not affected by the treatment.

In addition, Makeleni said the clinic staff could have adjusted the dosages to minimise the effect of the medication on his hearing.

However, he eventually had to be admitted to hospital.

Makeleni’s R920 000 claim includes damages for medical costs he had incurred and for medical expenses he may incur in the future, including specialist consultations, hearing therapy, hearing aids and other devices.

In addition, Makeleni is claiming future and past loss of earnings as well as general damages, which include pain, suffering and disability.

However, the city has denied the negligence allegations and said in court papers that the injections were stopped immediately after Makeleni complained that his hearing was affected.

He was then referred to Brooklyn Chest Hospital.

The city added that should the court find that the clinic was negligent, it would say that Makeleni was also negligent for not timeously informing the clinic of any of the side effects and for failing to adhere to scheduled appointments with doctors and other medical staff.

The city also alleged in its papers that Makeleni was aware of the fact that the treatment could lead to a loss of hearing, and that he undertook the risk when he consented to the medication being administered.

A date for the case has not yet been set.

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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Changing Things


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