The South African lawsuit resulting from the botched circumcision of a five-year-old boy has been decided in favor of the plaintiffs for R2.2 million or approximately US $215,000.

Steven Svoboda
Attorneys for the Rights of the Child


R2.2m for boy’s botched circumcision

By Sharika Regchand

The Mercury (South Africa)

June 20, 2013

Durban – The parents of a boy whose circumcision was botched at a Vryheid hospital were awarded R2.2 million to be paid within 14 days by the provincial Health Department, Deputy Judge President Achmat Jappie ordered in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday.

Judge Jappie also ordered that the department pay all the family’s legal costs.

The mother of the child, now nine, sued the department on behalf of her son following his circumcision in October 2009.

He suffered severe burning, infections and a loss of his normal penile tissue after the procedure.

Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Paul McGarr said in a report before the court that he was “completely amazed by the inertia, lack of a sense of urgency and lack of sensitivity shown by the doctors” who initially managed the child.

McGarr went into detail as to how the child’s injury had occurred and commented that the standard of practice and aftercare at the hospital constituted gross negligence by staff who had failed to follow the most basic principles of surgery.

“The words lazy, incompetent and disinterested accurately describe the treating doctor’s actions,” he said.

“In essence, nine minutes of a rushed, incompetent circumcision has significantly and severely impacted on the child for the rest of his life.”

Attorney Sonette Boning said the boy’s parents were happy that the matter had been finalised after four years.

She said they were not on medical aid and had found it difficult to get him the best medical and psychological treatment.

He would also need to have further surgery.

The mother previously told The Mercury that it was difficult for her son and there had been a big change in his life.

“He went through a lot of anxiety, fear and psychological trauma. He also lost his self-confidence,” she said, recalling days when her son had panic attacks and times when she could do nothing to help him feel better.