Road Accident Fund Judgement- Kontos v General Accident Insurance Co SA Ltd1989 (part 2)

The plaintiff is unable to move any muscle or part of his body except his eyes, facial muscles, tongue and jaw.

He requires most substantial nursing care which can be summarised as Follows:

1. He requires continuous respirator support. The mechanical ventilator requires the attention of a trained person on at least an hourly basis with day and night supervision.

2. He requires turning every two to three hours for the prevention of pressure sores.

3. He requires feeding by an attendant who has to cut up his food in small portions and to feed him piecemeal.

4. He requires physiotherapy for the passive removal of lung secretions.

5. He requires continuous bladder drainage by means of a condom and drainage tube.

6. He has total incontinence of bowel function and needs manual evacuation from time to time.

7. He requires constant general nursing care.

8. He has developed a pressure sore over the sacrum which has required particular treatment.

The plaintiff has had frequent severe lung infections and needs very special care regarding physiotherapy, bronchial, toilet and medical supervision. It is common cause that neurologically the plaintiff will not recover. It is also common cause that from a respiratory viewpoint a number of adverse factors apply such as residual lung damage from each successive pneumonic episode, the emergence of antibiotic resistant organisms and the development of local pulmonary complications, for example, lung abscess or emphyzema. Any one of these conditions may rapidly terminate the plaintiff’s life.

In view of these facts the considered medical opinion is that a reasonable estimate of the plaintiff’s lifespan is 18 months as from February 1989.

Although the plaintiff may on rare occasions and in the presence of properly qualified nursing staff leave the hospital, he is destined to remain in the spinal unit of the H F Verwoerd Hospital for the rest of his remaining life.

The plaintiff is unable to speak due to the permanent indwelling tracheostomy tube. He converses with his lips, his face and sounds he is able to bring forth. The plaintiff does not experience pain, though he sometimes complains about a headache, an ear-ache or a feeling of comfortableness in his body without being able to indicate the precise location thereof The plaintiff is able to sit in a wheelchair and, with the aid of a portable respirator, be moved within the precincts of the hospital, always of course under the watchful eyes of the nursing staff. At the time of the collision the plaintiff was employed as a trainee fish manager in the Sandton Hyperama earning a gross monthly salary of R1 000,00. Although not pertinently relevant for purposes of this judgement, it can be mentioned that prior to taking up this employment the plaintiff was able to earn a higher salary. It appears as if he took up the new employment in order to move into the managerial field of supermarkets to better his own future as well as to have more time available to enjoy life and to pursue his interests. It is clear that the plaintiff was, before he sustained the injuries, an above average sportsman who partook in many different sporting activities.

The plaintiff, being a 28-year-old bachelor at the time of the collision, had a busy and certainly an enjoyable social life. He had many friends, male and female, and partook in social activities on a daily basis. According to Dr Holmes, a psychologist, the plaintiff must have gone through various stages of depression and frustration, hatred and total despondency for a long period after the collision.

Continue to part 3—>

Comments are closed.