WHEN Nikita Thys died in June last year she was almost three years old. Her short little life was riddled with illness, a struggle to breathe, renal failure, doctors, needles and operations – the result of a devastating 19 hours at Dora Nginza Hospital in Zwide, Port Elizabeth.
Yesterday, after a four-year fight, the Health Department finally conceded it was negligence that reduced what was a healthy foetus at 38 weeks' pregnancy to a struggling little girl who died a month before her third birthday.
Nikita's father, Eugene, a store manager in Uitenhage, yesterday told of his family's desperate fight to get justice for their little girl before her death on June 15 last year.
"Just after she was born I looked at her in the incubator and I asked the nurses to shut down the machines. They refused. They said I must just pray harder," he said.
Their initial lawsuit for R12-million to provide for the lifelong care Nikita would need was revised downwards following her death and settled at R325000 – to pay for her parents' pain and suffering, the R144000 they spent on a medical battle to help their child and R4000 in funeral costs.
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