HARARE – CIMAS Medical Aid Society faces a ZW$1 million suit for negligence after the health insurer’s staff allegedly dispensed hair loss medicine to a breast cancer patient resulting in her suffering kidney failure.
The society dispensed the wrong medication on Caroline Nyika, creating more health complications for the patient.
The negligence prompted her filing the lawsuit against CIMAS.
The matter was first heard before a Harare magistrate who found the company at fault.
The magistrate had ruled that Nyika’s health deteriorated as a result of taking the wrong medication because CIMAS “admitted liability that Nyika wanted to be treated for breast cancer and not hair loss”’
“It dismissed CIMAS’ claim that there were no side effects on the basis that there was no evidence that the medication is safe for women as clearly indicated that it was to be taken by men only,” reads court papers.
“The lower court found CIMAS liable to pay the damages for the pain and suffering that Nyika went through because of its negligence.”
The magistrate however ordered CIMAS to pay half of the amount she claimed with interest from the date of the issuance of the summons to the date of payment.
This was after considering that she took the wrong “medication only for two weeks and already had a chronic ailment”.
Aggrieved by the ruling, CIMAS then mounted an appeal at the High Court complaining that the lower court erred in determining that Nyika had suffered the said health complications because of her existing chronic illness.
CIMAS argued that Nyika was not entitled to any compensation.
“The requirements appellant alleged had not been established firstly, that she suffered patrimonial loss, and secondly that such loss was a result of CIMAS’ wrongful actions,” argued the health insurer.
CIMAS also argued that Nyika did not mention any kidney failure in her evidence in chief but that she suffered side effects which include a swollen heart and endless coughing.
The company submitted that the departure from her plea weighed hard against her and should not have won the case.
But judges of appeal, Justices Fatima Maxwell and Amy Tsanga ruled it was shameful that CIMAS was trying to run away from a liability when there was glaring evidence against the company.
“This ground of appeal shows that appellant is desperately clutching a straw in an effort to reverse the lower court’s decision,” said the judges.
“The appeal has no merit at all and it cannot succeed. The appeal fails…”