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Why Medical Malpractice Lawyers are Needed in South Africa

You are admitted to hospital for a condition that requires surgery. However, instead of healing, the wound becomes infected and eventually you have to spend several days in hospital to treat the condition of septicaemia. During this time you are administered the wrong medicine and the lack of medical care leads to further complications. Do you simply leave the situation after having been discharged and sufficiently healed to get back to work or do you consult with medical malpractice lawyers in order to take legal steps against the hospital?

People mistakenly believe that medical malpractice incidents are limited to state hospital care. A surprisingly large number of cases are reported in private health care. Though the situation is not as dire as in the USA, where medical treatment has been stated as one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the America, the cost of liability in South Africa has increased tremendously over the past ten years.

Misconduct by medical professionals can take many forms ranging from failure to keep record of the treatment, changing records, not treating patients in a timely manner, wrong diagnosis, incorrect accounting, incorrect prescriptions, leaving surgery equipment in the patient, defrauding medical aid schemes, not monitoring patients, and not following acceptable procedures in follow-ups on post-surgery treatments.

Victims of such malpractice or negligence can lodge complaints at the HPCSA. The body investigates the allegations and if the medical professional or institution is found guilty, awards penalties such as fines and suspension of practice. However, not many people know that they can take immediate legal steps apart from going to the HPCSA. For such, medical malpractice lawyers assess the merits of the case. They act on behalf of the injured party and take the necessary legal steps to seek compensation for the damages suffered by the patient. Such damages include from loss of income because of inability to work, emotional and physical pain, medical expenses and aftercare costs. Once a summons is issued, the complaint at the HPCSA will pend until the litigation is finalised.

It should also be noted that the HPCSA doesn’t award compensation for the damages. For such you will need to take legal steps with the assistance of medical malpractice lawyers against the relevant party. However, if you have suffered substantially you do have the right to seek compensation. It is imperative to do so as soon after the incident as possible since the timeframe in which you can take legal action is limited.


Note that the information in this article is for information purposes only and should not be seen as an attempt to provide legal advice. We strongly recommend that you contact us at Adele van der Walt Incorporated for professional legal advice.

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