Medics should be held to account - mother

02:24, Sep 26 2012
clinton botha landscape
MISSED: Charlotte Botha, mother of Clinton-John Botha, who died in hospital because of a failure with his care, says there should be consequences for the staff involved.

The mother of a Christchurch soldier who died because of inadequate care after elective brain surgery feels there should be consequences for those who failed her son.

Clinton-John Botha, 21, who was nominated for a bravery award while serving with the New Zealand Army in East Timor, died on March 7, 2009, in Christchurch Hospital after surgery to relieve severe headaches.

Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill found Botha died because of "sub-optimal" processes and practices in the neurosurgical unit.

clinton botha STD
SOLDIER: Clinton-John Botha, 21.

Botha's mother, Charlotte Botha, said the findings confirmed what she had discovered from her inquiries into her son's death.

She received a letter of apology from the hospital but felt it would have been more appropriate coming from the staff involved - a trainee neurosurgeon, a consultant neurosurgeon and three nurses.

Botha could not understand why there was no consequences for the staff who made the mistakes.


"My son didn't have to die if people did their job properly. There were at least three to five people that compromised his care,'' she said.

''There was a nurse stationed next to his bed. A nurse was sitting next to my son while he was dying.

"There are no consequence. It's almost like his life was meaningless. That's my frustration.

"There should be something. I'm not saying they should lose their jobs; perhaps some retraining or a fine to say, 'Hey, you really messed up'."

Botha believed that if she had not have made the complaint and investigated, nothing would have happened.

"It's the only place in New Zealand that you can do something really bad and there's no consequences. Even if I pay my power bill late, there's a penalty," she said.

However, the findings did provide some closure for the family, Botha said.

She hoped it would help the family put the events surrounding his death behind them and remember him as he was, a "good, caring person".

"Even on the day of his funeral a girl came to me and put a letter in my and said, 'I always wanted to give this to Clinton; I want you to have it','' she said.

"She was going to commit suicide and he talked her out of it. In the letter she was thanking him for being there. That's the type of boy he was. I'll treasure that forever."

She said the family were still trying to cope with the loss.

"We light a candle for him every night. It's still hard," Botha said.

An inquest into Botha's death is continuing.

The Press