More Articles

Lawyers Specialising in Medical Negligence

Lawyers Specialising in Medical Negligence: Violation of Patient Rights

The Department of Health has, as part of their commitment to uphold and protect the rights embedded in the Constitution, drafted a Patient Rights Charter. This Charter provides the standard when it comes to the treatment of patients. If you are or have been a patient in South Africa and your rights, including the right of informed refusal of treatment, have been violated, seek legal guidance from lawyers specialising in medical negligence.

It should be noted that the Patient Rights Charter is still subject to the laws governing medical treatment and human rights in South Africa. Below is a brief description of three important patient rights. If one or more of these rights have been violated and you have suffered physical, emotional and financial harm as a result, the first step should be to consult with lawyers specialising in medical negligence to determine the merits of your case.

Right to a Healthy Environment

You have the right to a sanitary healthcare environment. Proper precautions must be in place to minimise the risk of secondary infections, spreading of disease in the healthcare facility, and the contamination of instruments. However, only where a violation leads to physical injury, and only when a duty of care has been breached that leads to physical injury, can it meet the requirement for medical negligence. To this end, consult with lawyers specialising in medical negligence to determine whether the requirements have been met.

Right to Treatment

The right to access healthcare is one of the fundamental patient rights. If you have been turned away from an emergency care unit at a hospital when you have been in critical need of emergency care to prevent permanent physical harm or even death, you may have the right to take legal action against the facility.

Right to Informed Consent and Informed Refusal of Treatment

The healthcare professional has a duty to get your informed consent before administering a course of treatment. The risks, alternative treatments, potential outcome, and the treatment procedure must be explained in understandable terms. You cannot make an informed decision regarding acceptance or refusal of the treatment if you don’t understand the terms used to explain the course of treatment. Where such treatment is necessary to protect the interests of the public and is in your best interest, it is possible for the practitioners to still treat you without your consent.

If you believe that you have been forced to undergo treatment without your informed consent, it is best to immediately seek advice from lawyers specialising in medical negligence to determine whether you have sufficient grounds for legal action. Keep in mind that it can only be negligence or malpractice if there has been a duty of care and that duty of care has been breached. In addition, you must have suffered harm because of the breach in the duty of care.

If you have suffered physical injury as the result of the violation of your patient rights by a healthcare professional who had a duty of care, get in touch with lawyers specialising in medical negligence. Contact Adele van der Walt Incorporated for legal help.

*Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call on our attorneys for legal advice, rather than relying on the information herein to make any decisions. The information is relevant as at the date of publishing – April 2020.

Contact us