Gym foots medical bill after patron injured

It’s not often that companies will accept liability if you injure yourself on their premises but Planet Fitness didn’t put up much of an argument after a metal soap dispenser fell off the wall and hit Parklands branch member John Darné, 71, of Table View, on the leg.

“After a workout I went into the shower and when I pressed the button on the metal soap dispenser, it fell off the wall and onto my leg,” said Mr Darné, who wrote to Planet Fitness explaining what had happened and asking them to cover his medical bill of R913.34 because as a pensioner it would make a big dent in his budget.

“When the soap dispenser fell off the bracket on the wall and hit my left leg, blood started pouring out. I applied pressure to the wound and asked one of the members to call the first aider,” Mr Darné wrote.

“Witness arrived and after we bandaged the wound I was advised to have it seen to at either Medicross or Netcare Hospital. As my GP is at Medicross I went there.

“It was still bleeding and my doctor had to put in five stitches to close the wound. “As this accident was no fault of mine, I would like a refund because as a pensioner I cannot afford to cover this myself,” Mr Darné told Planet Fitness.

“Branch manager Sergio agreed that Planet Fitness should pay the R913.34 medical bill. He said he would send the claim to their head office but a few days later I received an email from the gym offering me a three-month extension of my membership. This I refused, because as a pensioner, the medical bill I had paid knocked a hole in my budget.

“Then I got another email saying: ‘We don’t cover medical expenses as members enter/utilise facilities at their own risk. A gesture of goodwill would be free time’,” Mr Darné told me.

“I can understand them refusing compensation if the accident was my fault or if I was abusing the equipment. But to have a soap dispenser fall off the wall in the shower cubicle, surely I cannot be blamed for that.

“Please help me to resolve this dispute and obtain the refund for me,” Mr Darné asked.

Spokesperson for Planet Fitness, Eileen de Boer, said as standard policy they do not cover medical expenses for injuries in their clubs.

“The circumstances are not clear around exactly what happened at the time the soap dispenser came off the wall. We do, however, value our members and their well-being. In good faith and considering that Mr Darné is a pensioner, we have taken the decision to pay his medical bill to the maximum value of R950 as our full and final settlement. I trust that this will meet Mr Darné’s approval,” she said.

It did. “Grateful thanks for your invaluable assistance. When I contacted Planet Fitness about claiming medical expenses, they told me that all they would consider was an extension of my membership. Once again many thanks,” said a happy Mr Darné after the money was deposited into his account.

Managing Diabetes

and Related Health


Dr Arien van der Merwe

Human & Rousseau

Review: Brian Joss

In his 2016 budget speech, Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan announced plans to introduce a sugar tax on sweetened beverages, next year, to combat diseases such as obesity and diabetes, which are linked to a high sugar intake.

However, it seems he has forgotten the sugar-laden breakfast cereals. Which is a puzzle. So this book by Dr Arien van der Merwe is timely. Dr Van der Merwe explains in an easy-to-understand way what diabetes is, what causes it, how it affects your emotions, the link to Alzheimer’s as well as the medication you may need and the side effects they have.

A specialist medical doctor, Van der Merwe is an expert on holistic integrative medicine and explains how the mind and your emotions can have a negative influence on your health and she believes the answer lies in living a more conscious life: be aware, let your intuition guide you: in other words listen to the wisdom and the inner healer of your body.

In addition to this philosophy, there are practical guidelines for managing diabetes which include changing your lifestyle, exercising, eating correctly and managing and reducing stress which all have a bearing on this chronic disease which can have devastating effects.

Van der Merwe also looks at the Banting diet – low carb high fat (LCHF) – and gives the 10 rules of Banting. She writes that there is much more to it than eliminating sugary cold and hot drinks, pastries, breads, sweets and buns.

So if you follow the doctor’s advice, you could live a sweet life and save money when the sugar tax comes into effect. Try some of her favourite recipes, at the back, which support a healthy lifestyle.

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