18 July 2014

South Africa: Update - Court Orders Treatment for Gravely Ill Somali Girl

The North Gauteng High Court has granted an order allowing a 12-year-old Somali refugee to receive treatment at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital. She was admitted to hospital this morning.

The girl suffers from a serious heart condition. She was rushed to Kalafong Hospital a day after arriving in South Africa, before she could apply for refugee status. She was later transferred to Steve Biko Academic Hospital for the surgery but the hospital allegedly refused to treat her because she did not have any documentation and could not pay a R250 000 deposit

Following the court order, her treatment will be administered as it would to any other patient at the hospital.

"Her lack of documentation will no longer be a barrier to her medical treatment," said Patricia Erasmus, who is handling the case for Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR).

The case has not yet been fully resolved however.

"The respondents denied that they ever asked for a deposit, so the court has ordered an investigation," Erasmus said.

Attempts to gain comment from the Department of Health were unsuccessful.

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