Doctor's Mistakes

Doctor's Mistakes can Change your Life Forever

The saying goes that a doctor's mistakes get buried, but (un)fortunately this is not always the case. Visit any old age home, or home for disabled people and you are bound to find at least one person that has landed there due to a mistake a healthcare provider made somewhere along the line. A first-time mother that has never and never will know her son because a 'little mishap' with anaesthetics caused severe brain damage and she is now bound to a bed. A bright eyed little girl turns into a violent child after meningitis causes severe brain damage - the doctor thought she had a bout of the flu

Doctor's mistakes can have an enormous impact on an individual and their family. However, because of the grief and changes that must be made to the household not many people think about the fact that they have recourse. Doctors are obliged to belong to some sort of association if they want to practice medicine in South Africa, the biggest association that encompasses most medicine faculties is the Health Professions Council of South Africa. If a doctor's mistakes are brought in front of this body the allegations will be investigated and if the doctor is found guilty of unethical or unprofessional conduct there are various penalties, from fines to being scrapped from the role, either for a set period of time or for life.

What you can do to limit doctor's mistakes

It is vitally important that you are comfortable with your healthcare provider. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable with them do go and look for a doctor that you are comfortable with - you and your loved ones' health can depend on it. Always give as much information as possible - doctors need to know as much about your state of health as possible to make a correct diagnosis. Trust your gut - if you believe that symptoms isn't as inconspicuous as your doctor makes it out to be, feel free to get a second opinion, it could save your life. If you need more information about what to do about a doctor's mistakes, feel free to contact Adele van der Walt Attorneys, industry leaders in medico legal cases. We will assess your case and assist you in filing a case if need be.

let us take care of your medical faults litigation

Despite the years of training medical professionals undergo they are human and medical faults happen. Sometimes it can be something as small as giving a patient a stronger injection as what was needed, but sometimes it can change the patient’s life forever, for example, amputating the wrong limb, giving a lethal dose of medicine and more.

One of the biggest medical faults to hit the headlines in recent months was the Hollywood actor Dennis Quaid’s newborn twins who received a dosage of blood thinning medicine a hundred times that what they should have received. Even though the babies survived, the actor is suing the concerned parties in an effort to stop this fault from happening again.

That is exactly what many people want to achieve when suing a health care provider for medical faults – even though their lives have changed dramatically, they want to stop anyone else from experiencing the same loss.

Many doctors in South Africa have been in the news for directly causing the death of their patients. One particular health care professional, a general practitioner, caused a woman’s death by performing liposuction on her. Because he didn’t have the necessary skills to conduct such a procedure she died several days after the procedure.

Even though this doctor was scrapped from the role, the patient also had the responsibility of verifying the practitioner’s details. This is especially important if you are considering cosmetic surgery. Unscrupulous doctors will convince their patients to let them perform the procedure, citing cost effectiveness as the main reason. However, cosmetic surgery is a highly specialised field and surgeons undergo special training to ensure aesthetic appeal and safety.

Medical faults can be prevented – make sure that you are 100% happy and comfortable with your surgeon. If your gut is gnawing at you, rather get a second opinion.

If however you have been affected by medical faults and you believe you have a strong enough case to sue the practitioner, let Adele van der Walt Attorneys Inc be your port of call. We specialise in medico legal cases and will assess each case on merit.


For more information on this subject, please give us a call at 012 460 3668 (SA) or e-mail us at

Medical Law