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Medical-Law Professionals Help Public Healthcare Patients Take Legal Action

Patients may not be aware of their rights and the legal steps they or their families can take with the help of medical-law professionals to seek compensation where such rights have been compromised, causing them to suffer injury and damage.

The state healthcare system lack resources and is overwhelmed and dysfunctional. In view of this, some doctors and nurses at state hospitals mistreat patients. It is alarming to see so many news reports about the mistreatment of patients in state hospitals, gross negligence, and malpractice incidents causing harm – and death – to patients. Unfortunately, many patients suffering humiliation, pain, and injury as the result of mistreatment and negligence of hospital staff do not know that they must take legal action against the Department of Health within a specific time frame.

In fact, they need the help of medical-law professionals, as the Constitution states that every person in this country has the right to sufficient healthcare of a reasonable standard. Accordingly, every patient at a state healthcare facility has a right to safe medical treatment, including the right to be treated with dignity. Where such a right is breached, causing the patient to suffer injury and damages, the patient can, with the help of attorneys, take legal action against the relevant state department.

The legal action must commence with the serving of a Section 3(2) Notice against the Department of Health within six months of the incident. Once this has been done, the patient has three years after the notice to initiate legal action, best done with the help of experienced medical-law professionals. It is possible to simply approach the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to lodge a complaint against a particular healthcare worker or hospital, but if the patient has suffered considerable pain and financial damage because of the action (or lack thereof) by the hospital’s healthcare team, they have the right to financial compensation.

What You Can Do

For the legal action against the Department of Health to be successful, you need to initiate legal steps within the allowable timeframe and be able to prove that your injuries and damage suffered are the result of the negligence of the state hospital’s staff. In this regard, your first step should be to speak to medical-law professionals as soon as possible after the incident.

If you suspect the hospital is the cause of further injury, obtaining a doctor’s report is essential. To this end, it is best to obtain a medical-examination report from a qualified physician not directly involved with the particular hospital and experience in court.

Perhaps you have lost your baby at a state hospital due to lack of care or incorrect procedures followed by hospital staff. Perhaps you have lost your ability to walk because of a mistake made during surgery. Maybe you lost sight in one eye because of incorrect administration of ophthalmic medicine. Regardless, you have suffered pain and your life has changed as a result. There are medical-law professionals that can help you take legal action against the relevant parties.

Call Adele van der Walt Incorporated for legal guidance and assistance in seeking compensation for damages suffered.

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 to the date of publishing – June 2019.

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