Justice for paralysed player

2012-11-23 10:35

Johannesburg - The Western Cape health department must pay compensation to a paralysed rugby player, the province's High Court has ruled, the Times reported on Friday.

In 2002 Charles Oppelt, 27, was injured during a match and had to wait about 15 hours before being treated at a Cape Town hospital.

His lawyers successfully argued that permanent damage could have been prevented if doctors had conducted a certain procedure within four hours of Oppelt's accident.
"When I left the court I burst into tears," he told the paper.

"I didn't cry because we were successful, I cried because my father was not there to see this day."

The court would decide how much the department had to pay Oppelt.

"Even though he didn't have money he wanted someone to be held accountable. I remember him telling me: 'I might not be there for you some day but I want to make sure life is easier for you'," Oppelt said.

Oppelt was injured while playing for Mamre Rugby Club. He was first taken to a nearby hospital, then Groote Schuur Hospital where he waited hours for treatment. The following morning he was taken to Conradie Hospital where doctors operated on him.

He spent a year recovering and was left paralysed from the waist down.


  • craig.kirchmann - 2012-11-23 11:04

    I just hope the Department doesn't appeal.

      marcus.vermaak - 2012-11-23 11:19

      To who? "High Court has ruled" The ruling is final.

      craig.kirchmann - 2012-11-23 11:34

      To the full bench of the division, Supreme Court of Appeal, the Constitutional Court. The right to appeal is part of our law.

  • Flemstone - 2012-11-23 19:34

    Why has this taken 10 years to settle? I had a back injury at work and it took three years to settle. By the time I got my compensation it pretty much paid my debt off. The world needs to change when it comes to compensation claims. Insurance companies are disgusting. They hand all these cases over to solicitors who milk it for everything its worth. Both sides make a fortune while the victim suffers in debt.

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