Nitra hospital to pay record damages for botched surgery

The Nitra Regional Court confirmed on October 2 the lower-instance court’s verdict that ordered the Teaching Hospital in Nitra to pay almost €500,000 for non-material damage after a patient undergoing a common nose surgery ending up with permanent brain damage.

The Nitra Regional Court confirmed on October 2 the lower-instance court’s verdict that ordered the Teaching Hospital in Nitra to pay almost €500,000 for non-material damage after a patient undergoing a common nose surgery ending up with permanent brain damage.

Šimon Buch and has remained in a vegetative state ever since 2007. His family asked for a compensation for health damage and interference in privacy. The Nitra hospital had earlier appealed the Nitra District Court verdict and it will now probably contest also the latest verdict at the Supreme Court. However, the family’s lawyer, Peter Koscelanský, told the Sme daily that conditions have not been fulfilled for such step.

Experts opine that the mistake was made by the doctor who resuscitated Buch, then aged 16, after the surgery, but sent him to a common post-surgery ward, instead of an anaesthesiology-resuscitation ward. Thus, it took several hours before doctors found out that the body did not awaken after the surgery. By then, his brain has been irreversibly damaged.

Lawyer Peter Wilfling of the Via Iuris civic association told Sme he considered the verdict a new, positive trend, as “it is necessary that courts finally start appropriately acknowledging damage compensations also for common citizens for serious damage to health”.

The Nitra hospital – led by Smer MP Jozef Valocký – is the only teaching hospital that regularly makes a profit. Valocký told Sme that he would not like to comment on the recent verdict and that the hospital will try to find resources to pay the compensation.

The boy’s mother is happy with the verdict, but said it does not give her “moral satisfaction”, and it will not return bring back her son whose chances for returning to normal state are very small. Valéria Buchová said, as quoted by the SITA newswire, she was still waiting for an apology by the hospital that has never come. She said she would use the money to continue caring for her son.

(Source: Sme, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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