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Alarming State of Healthcare in SA and How Malpractice Lawyers Can Help

The many news headlines on medical malpractice instances in South Africa is already reason enough to be concerned when having to use public healthcare services. The latest report from the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has highlighted the level of mismanagement, negligence, malpractice, and widespread corruption in public healthcare. The report titled “South Africa’s National Death Insurance Scheme” by Marius Roodt and Mailies Fleming was published in September 2018.

When one reads the report, it becomes evident why patients need the assistance of malpractice lawyers in South Africa. The report contains references to numerous media reports regarding malpractice and negligence instances in the country. News reports listed about negligence in KwaZulu-Natal healthcare being the possible cause of 100 tuberculosis patients losing their hearing (News 24, 6 September 2017) should be alarming.

Thousands of patients, however, have no other choice than to make use of the public healthcare system simply because they cannot afford medical aid contributions and are thus reliant on state hospitals and clinics for medical attention. However, it is not only the state of public healthcare that is a reason for concern.

According to a study concluded by Professor Ethelwynn Stellenberg of the Department of Nursing and Midwifery at the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, an alarming percentage of malpractice cases in the nursing category are the result of actions or the lack thereof by registered nurses. Preventable conditions, such as cerebral palsy, are often caused by the negligence of medical staff. In many of the cases, injuries to the brain occur during the birthing process. As such, parents have reason to be concerned.

Healthcare workers make mistakes, but when their mistakes or general lack of care regarding proper procedures cause patients to suffer injury, it is time to call in the assistance of malpractice lawyers.

Medical practice lawyers help patients to seek and gain compensation for the damages suffered. A child injured at birth may, for instance, require special care for the rest of their life. They lose the enjoyment of many of life’s amenities and their quality of life is affected. The cost of special care and medical attention because of the injury can be excessive. Even if the parents are affluent, such costs can still take a toll on their ability to care for the rest of their children and to enjoy the quality of life they have worked towards.

Medical malpractice lawyers review the merits of malpractice cases and advise clients on the way forward. Where possible, they seek out-of-court settlements for their clients, thereby reducing the legal expenses for the clients. In some instances, such settlements are not possible, and then litigation must follow.

It can be a lengthy and expensive process, but considering the seriousness of injury and damages related to the malpractice cases, it makes sense to seek proper compensation for gross negligence on the part of healthcare institutions and/or staff members.

If you or a loved one in your care has suffered serious injury because of substandard medical care, lack of care, or simply gross negligence on the part of a healthcare professional, take the proactive step in seeking legal advice. Get in touch with Adele van der Walt Incorporated if you need the assistance of experienced malpractice lawyers.

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 – January 2019.

Sources:
https://www.iafrica.com/birth-injury-claims-the-shocking-truth-about-cerebral-palsy-in-babies/
https://www.iol.co.za/the-star/news/private-healthcare-nurses-contribute-to-large-malpractice-claims-study-17612968
https://irr.org.za/reports/occasional-reports/files/sa-nhi-scheme.pdf
https://irr.org.za/reports/occasional-reports/south-africas-nhi-scheme
https://www.all4women.co.za/1588334/news/south-african-news/sas-public-health-system-in-crisis-because-of-negligence-mismanagement-irr

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