Woman who LOST ring finger in robbery wins R2m in case against doctor

A woman known as ‘AW Malan’ won quite a hefty sum from her doctor. The High Court in Pretoria ruled in AW Malan’s favour after her ring finger had to be amputated due to it being bitten during an armed robbery in 2016.

Malan sued Dr Francois du Toit Inc for R2 million. She alleged that the emergency medicine healthcare organisation did not adequately treat the bite wound she sustained during the armed robbery.

What happened during the robbery?

The woman was reportedly rushed to Kloof Hospital after the attack on 17 January 2016 outside her home in Pretoria. Both the woman and her husband were assaulted and she was bitten by the assailant on her ring finger.

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She was treated for her injuries and issued a prescription. Following this, the pain in her ring finger became unbearable and her hand swelled up – this was a few days after the incident.

How did the woman lose her finger?

The woman contacted her GP due to the pain and swelling. She was immediately referred to an orthopaedic surgeon. On 15 March 2017, AW Malan’s ring finger was amputated.

Why did the woman sue Dr Francois du Toit Inc?

The woman believed that Dr Francois du Toit Inc had wrongfully and negligently breached its legal duty in various ways. She believed that they did not explore the human bite on her finger and should have foreseen that an orthopaedic emergency was necessary.

She also stated that a prescription of therapy antibiotics to prevent infection was a necessity. She alleged that the doctors who treated her injury did not treat it as a bite wound.

The court case

AW Malan’s claim for the R2 million was for future loss of earning capacity, general damages as well as hospital expenses.

At the trial, the woman revealed that she informed healthcare professionals that she had been bitten more than once. Judge Harshila Kooverjie shared that the woman’s testimony was corroborated by her husband.

The doctor who treated AW Malan stated that the woman did not reveal that she was bitten on her finger. Adding that the treatment protocol for this would have been very different.

Judge Kooverjie said the defendant had wrongfully and negligently breached its legal duty. Kooverjie explained that the expert report by the healthcare organisation shared that a human bite required concerted treatment, reports TimesLIVE.

“Therefore, had the appropriate treatment been administered, the circumstances Mrs Malan found herself in could have been avoided. In Mrs Malan’s case, I find that the treatment was inappropriate,”

said Kooverjie.

AW Malan’s finger was bitten more than once during an armed robbery in 2016 and Judge Harshila Kooverjie believed that her doctors’ treatment was inappropriate. Photo: Marco Verch Professional Photographer / Flickr
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