"Parasitic" lawyers have reportedly been preying on new parents in state hospitals, looking for babies born with defects, in an effort to ramp up claims against the state, Parliament has heard.
According to The Times on Friday, this was revealed at a joint sitting of Parliament's standing committee on appropriations and the portfolio committee on health. Six provincial health departments were represented.
The issue of high legal claims against the state was raised. Officials said this was largely the fault of dodgy lawyers taking advantage of the situation.
KwaZulu-Natal reportedly told the committee that its contingent liabilities for medical litigation was about R1o billion.
According to The Times, Kzn health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo told the committee that law firms were colluding with doctors to get access to patient files. He reportedly said most of the claims against his department were related to births.
Dhlomo reportedly said there were claims that lawyers had visited early childhood development centres looking for children with cerebral palsy, so that they could approach their parents about lodging claims against the state.
According to The Times, Dhlomo also said some of the claims were requested for future medical expenses.
The Northern Cape reportedly has R1.2 billion in pending claims, while in Limpopo, there was a 100% increase in medical claims against the state in the last year, The Times reported.
The Law Society of SA told The Times that collusion between police and lawyers should be reported.