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Two Examples of Negligence According to South Africa’s Medical Laws

Consult with a medical law attorney before you enter any correspondence with a hospital, another type of medical facility, or health professional regarding alleged negligence or malpractice if you wish to avoid making mistakes that can affect the outcome of a lawsuit against the professional or institution.

Medical Law Regarding Healthcare Mistakes

Healthcare professionals must adhere to acceptable standards of care, but although mistakes do occur, not all mistakes are necessarily negligence. As such, certain elements must be present before mistakes are negligence. For one, the mistake must cause injury to the patient, causing the patient to suffer damages as a result thereof. There must be a duty of care, which means there must be a doctor-patient relationship and that the healthcare professional must breach this duty of care.

Two examples of mistakes made by healthcare professionals are provided below, helping you understand why you need the assistance of a medical law attorney to determine the merits of your negligence or malpractice claim.

Wrong Medication

Medication errors can cause serious injuries. A healthcare professional may prescribe the wrong medication or wrong dosage for the patient’s particular condition, which can endanger the patient’s wellbeing or, worst case scenario, could lead to the death of the patient. A doctor can prescribe medication to which the patient is allergic, even though the patient has informed the doctor of the allergy beforehand. The doctor can misdiagnose the patient and then prescribe medication for the wrong condition.

In a hospital setting, a healthcare professional can administer medication to the wrong patient who then suffers injury because of the mistake. The equipment that administers medication can malfunction, leading to overdosage in a relatively short period of time.

It is essential to understand who the negligent party is. To this end, it is important to seek medical law advice, as a lawsuit against the wrong party can be costly and a waste of time. If the negligent party is employed by the hospital, then the hospital can be held responsible for negligence. If the medication equipment fails, it is possible that both the hospital and the manufacturer can be responsible for the injury.

Anaesthesia Errors

Anaesthesia errors are extremely dangerous as even the smallest mistake can cause permanent damage or lead to the patient’s death. It could have been because of defective drugs, the equipment may have been faulty, or the anaesthesiologist may have been negligent.

Here are four examples of what may be considered as malpractice when it comes to anaesthesiology:

  • The health professional fails to consider the patient’s medical history for possible complications with a particular drug.
  • The health professional fails to inform the patient of the risks, regarding the anaesthesia, should they not follow the pre-surgery instructions.
  • The medical professional administers the wrong dosage, and the patient then suffers injury as a result.
  • The anaesthesiologist fails to monitor the patient’s vital signs during the surgery, which causes the patient to suffer injury as a direct result thereof.

Where to Get Help

You need an experienced medical law attorney to help determine if the injuries you have suffered are the result of the medical professional’s negligence. Speak to the team of experienced medical law attorneys at Adele van der Walt Incorporated to help you determine the merits of your malpractice claim.


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 – May 2019.

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