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Health settles wrongful death lawsuit

2023-08-30  Roland Routh

Health settles wrongful death lawsuit

The Ministry of Health and Social Services has agreed to pay a grieving mother N$500 000 in damages for the death of her daughter.  

After Renate Ndjahera dragged them to Court through her lawyers Henry Shimutwikeni & Co. for N$1.9 million for “irregular, wrongful and negligent conduct of medical personnel”, the ministry offered a settlement, which Ndjahera accepted.

Ndjahera’s daughter, Vazemba Kavetutjo, was taken to Wanaheda clinic in Windhoek in June 2019 with heavy bleeding and a stomach ache, whereafter she was referred to the Katutura Intermediate Hospital, where she was found to be four to five months pregnant. 

She was admitted to the Windhoek Central Hospital on the same day, where she was three days later diagnosed as suffering a septic abortion for which an emergency operation was needed. 

Kavetutjo was discharged after four days but continued to suffer from abdominal pain and bleeding from her private parts. 

After several follow-up visits to the hospital, she was eventually diagnosed with cancer of the uterus in which tumours started developing. 

As a result of the conduct of the medical personnel at Windhoek Central Hospital, the deceased continued to experience pain and vaginal bleeding, causing her to seek further medical attention and to be in and out of hospital. 

She died on 11 January 2020 of renal failure as a result of the cancer.

According to court documents, her death was directly linked to the unlawful, wrongful and negligent conduct on the part of medical personnel at the Windhoek Central Hospital, who initially wrongly diagnosed and treated the deceased. 

Ndjahera claimed N$1 million for shock and trauma, N$400 000 for inconvenience and discomfort, and N$500 000 for future medical expenses in relation to counselling. 

The ministry agreed to pay Ndjahera N$500 000 in full and final payment, and the parties agreed that each shall pay for its own legal costs. 

However, should the ministry fail to pay the agreed amount in terms of the settlement, the ministry shall remain liable for interest on the amount at 20% per annum until final and full payment is made. 

The ministry will also be responsible for execution costs incurred by Ndjahera to enforce the settlement agreement, including costs for collection and all other ancillary costs thereto on the scale of attorney and client. 

Further, Ndjahera may on the strength of the agreement being made an order of the court to obtain a writ in execution should the ministry fail to honour its obligations within a reasonable time.


2023-08-30  Roland Routh

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