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Mother loses ‘vaccine death’ suit

2022-08-15  Maria Amakali

Mother loses ‘vaccine death’ suit

A mother, who sued the state for negligently causing the death of her three-month-old daughter after a vaccine shot in 2015, lost the suit on Friday in the High Court.

Judge Orben Sibeya ruled that Victoria Kangala failed to prove that the nursing staff and/or medical staff at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital were negligent in their actions and caused the death of her baby, Mwaukange Shifiona. 

“l, therefore, find no basis for the plaintiff’s (Kangala) allegation that the nursing staff and medical practitioners could have foreseen the death of the deceased but failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the death,” said Sibeya.

Kangala sued the health ministry for N$710 000 for negligently causing the death of her infant on 13 January 2015.

According to Kangala, the infant died as a result of negligence by the medical officers at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital. 

She said they could have foreseen the minor’s death from meningitis.

She further said the medical personnel failed to act promptly or take reasonable steps timeously to administer medication that would have prevented the baby’s condition from deteriorating.

Kangala said she took her baby to the clinic next to the Black Chain shopping complex in Katutura on 7 January 2015. 

However, after returning home to Windhoek’s informal settlement of Okahandja Park, the baby was crying inconsolably and did not want to be breastfed. 

The following morning, she observed the baby’s face was swollen and her eyes were closed.

Kangala rushed the infant to the Katutura Intermediate Hospital, where the baby was admitted into the intensive care unit. 

The baby died on 13 January 2015.

The state was adamant they did not cause the baby’s death. 

According to the medical report prepared by professor Clarissa Hildegard Pieper, a registered paediatrician, per the State’s request, the baby died of meningitis and aspiration pneumonia.

Pieper’s findings are supported by Kangala’s paediatric doctor Steffen Bau, who said it is likely the infant died of bacterial meningitis, which was compounded by aspiration pneumonia.  

He affirmed the infant’s death was not vaccine-related.

Kangala was represented by Sharen Zenda, while the health ministry had Janseline Gawises as their legal representative.


2022-08-15  Maria Amakali

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