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Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Gauteng – Increase in Lawsuits

According to the South African Government News Agency reports in 2012, the Gauteng Department of Health & Social Development paid just under R10 million out in two cases alone.

The two cases made headlines. The one involved a patient who claimed compensation for a wrongful leg amputation done in a public hospital when he was admitted for a heart condition. The second case was paid out regarding a cerebral palsy patient. Two doctors and a medical nurse were dismissed in connection with the cases.

The above, are but two of the medical negligence lawsuits in which claimants benefitted from the services of medical malpractice lawyers in Gauteng. According to Fin24 reports in 2011, the number of medical negligence claims for more than R5 million have increased tremendously over the past ten years.

According to the reports changes to the Road Accident Fund as well as the ability of medical malpractice lawyers in Gauteng to take on cases on a contingency basis have contributed to the increase in medical lawsuits.

Not only public hospitals, but also private hospitals often make mistakes and have to take responsibility for the mistakes of the staff members. Cases range from birth injuries to wrong diagnosis and lack of service.

In most instances, however, according to reports, public hospitals are involved. This can be because of the poor state of the equipment, inadequate training, lack of empathy with patients, under-staffing, lack of medicine, and the overall attitude of medical staff members. Overworked medical professionals are more at risk of making mistakes and with public hospitals under severe pressure because of the increase in demand for medical services, many doctors and nurses are overworked.

Even though many patients simply don’t want to go through the lengthy court proceedings in their compensation claims, those who do, often benefit from substantial pay-outs. For most victims, the compensation is essential to take care of medical bills, financial losses because of the inability to work as the result of the injury, trauma treatment or for taking care of the injured family member.

Has the increase in claims improved services?

Though one can argue that medical malpractice claims don’t benefit society because such can lead to higher medical costs, the truth is that medical professionals are now more cautious in their treatment of patients. They are aware of the possibility of litigation should they not follow the correct procedures in diagnosis and treatments. Patients in the long term therefore benefit from improved medical services.

Validity of claims

Medical malpractice lawyers in Gauteng help patients determine the validity of their claims and thus don’t pursue claims which do not meet the minimum requirements. For a claim to be successful there must be a doctor/patient relationship. The medical professional must accordingly have a duty to treat the patient and as such one cannot claim for compensation from a doctor for giving advice to another doctor. There must also be an injury. The injury can also be in the form of illness because of the action or non-action of the medical staff. Damages must exist including loss of health or life and for instance, loss of income. One cannot claim for potential injury, but only for sustained injury.

Patients have the right to access their own medical records and should request such if malpractice is suspected. Patients should also get a second medical opinion as soon as possible and keep record.

Don’t wait until you can no longer claim compensation. Contact us for immediate professional legal assistance.