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PS Health Ordered To Pay $168K To Deceased Infant’s Family

The Permanent Secretary for the Health Ministry has been ordered to pay a sum of $168,260.00 to the family of an infant who died due to lack of care at
12 Dec 2020 11:00
PS Health Ordered To Pay $168K To Deceased Infant’s Family

The Permanent Secretary for the Health Ministry has been ordered to pay a sum of $168,260.00 to the family of an infant who died due to lack of care at the hospital.

The plaintiff in this case was Viliame Tiko, who was the father of infant Kitione Waqa  Tiko.

Tiko claimed damages saying that his infant died as a result of negligence on the part of health officials.

Orders of the Court are that the defendants pay a sum of $168,260 as compensation and summarily assessed costs of $3,000.


On 13 April, 2015 Tiko took his son to Ba Health Centre for medical attention and examination due to the injury caused by a small piece of stick that pierced under the infant’s tongue on 12 April.

 At the Ba Health Centre the staff nurse, Biudole Sokia advised Tiko to take the infant home and wash the infant’s injury with warm salt water.

Tiko in his statement of claim stated that he insisted to Ms Sokia that the infant must see a doctor and wanted the doctor’s advice, but she (nurse) insisted that he take the infant, go home and wash his injury.

The nurse, without referring the infant to the doctor, gave the infant two small bottles containing pink colour fluid for the infant’s consumption without the prescription and endorsement of the doctor.

On the morning of 15 April, Tiko rushed his infant back to Ba Health Centre because the child was not eating and he had noticed that the right side of his face down to the chin had swelling and was painful when touched.

The nurse after checking the infant’s injured tongue immediately referred the infant to Dr. Ranita.

Dr Ranita immediately referred the infant to the x-ray department in Ba Health Centre and straight after the x-ray without advising Tiko that the infant has to be rushed to the Lautoka Hospital.

According to the Tiko, the nurse at Ba Health Centre did not follow the proper outpatient procedure, she failed to refer the infant to the doctor at the first instance which led to the infection of the injury and the deterioration of the infant’s injury.

When the infant was referred to Lautoka Hospital and without further medical examination the plaintiff and the infant were directed to the surgery room where he was advised that the infant would undergo a surgery.

The plaintiff alleged the following negligent acts occurred at the Surgery Department, Lautoka Hospital:

  • Failing to properly inform the detail information of the seriousness of the infection to the injury.
  • Failing to show the results of the x-ray whether or not fragments of pieces of stick present in the injury. Without that information it led the infant to undergo surgery.
  • Failed to carry out the surgery with care since it led the infant being declared brain dead.
  • Allowing the infant to go for a surgical operation when it was not necessary when there were available medical procedures.

Tiko alleged that the infant’s health worsened because some of the nurses were not consulting the doctors when giving injections. When he raised this issue with the doctor, he was informed that the nurses were wrong.

Judge Justice Mohamed Ajmeer in his ruling said that the doctors and nurses at Ba Health Centre and at Lautoka Hospital owed the duty to the plaintiff to ensure that his injury as he presented at the Ba Health Centre was diagnosed.

He added that the deceased was to be treated to the standard of prudent nurses and doctors exercising reasonable care.

He also said that there was no evidence before court that the plaintiff’s injury was infected before he was presented to the Ba Health Centre and therefore, the defence of contributory negligence was irrelevant and accordingly fails.


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