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Attorneys fight to get urgent medical care for disabled boy

updated: 23-Jul-09

Attorneys fight to get urgent medical care for disabled boy

While waiting for the slow wheels of legal justice to turn, de Broglio Attorneys is trying to obtain an interim court order to force the Road Accident Fund (RAF) to start paying for a severely mentally and physically disabled teenager to receive urgent medical treatment.

Thabo*, a 17-year-old from Polokwane, was aged 14 when he was involved in an accident in his hometown. While he was cycling one day in 2006, a truck knocked him down, causing the young man to sustain severe brain injuries that have impaired his mental and physical functioning.

From being a normal, happy teenager, Thabo has had to have a tracheotomy, is unable to talk or bend his knees, has to wear nappies and is severely physically disfigured as well as mentally disabled.

Shortly after his accident, his father committed suicide and his mother could not handle the pressure of caring for him. He went to live with his granny in a remote rural area, and did not receive any treatment for three years.

Upon being approached with the case, de Broglio Attorneys lodged a claim with the RAF on the family’s behalf, but in the absence of a compensation offer from the Fund, the matter is now set to go to court.

However, Thabo’s condition has been rapidly deteriorating, and any further delays in obtaining treatment will set back his rehabilitation even further. So touched were the staff at de Broglio by Thabo’s plight that they have sponsored him to be accommodated at a rehabilitation centre in Johannesburg, where he is receiving expert care.

“Despite the severity of his condition, he is really a sweet-natured child and we have grown very fond of him,” says Nicolene le Roux, candidate attorney at de Broglio Inc. “But he needs medical care and corrective operations urgently, in addition to extensive physiotherapy.”

An application is due to be heard on 7 July 2009 in the Johannesburg high Court to appoint a curator or caregiver to look after Thabo’s best interests, in the absence of any meaningful support from his family. De Broglio will also be seeking an interim undertaking from the Fund to cover his medical costs until the trial, which starts on 27 August 2009.

“We cannot afford to waste any more precious time when it comes to this young man’s health and wellbeing,” says Le Roux. “His life is at risk if he does not receive treatment. He has suffered for three years with minimal medical attention, and we believe he shouldn’t have to wait any longer, while the Fund is dragging its heels.”

*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality

Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.