What Constitutes Medical Negligence?

The following typically constitute medical negligence in South Africa:

  • Duty of Care: A healthcare professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or specialist, has a legal duty to provide a reasonable standard of care to their patients. This duty arises from the healthcare professional-patient relationship.
  • Breach of Duty: The healthcare professional’s actions or omissions fall below the standard of care expected of a reasonably skilled and competent professional in their field. This could include errors in diagnosis, treatment, surgery, medication administration, or failure to adequately inform patients of potential risks or alternative treatment options.
  • Causation: The breach of the duty of care must have directly caused or contributed to the patient’s harm or injury. There must be a clear link between the negligent act or omission and the resulting harm suffered by the patient.
  • Harm or Injury: The patient must have suffered harm, injury, or damage as a direct result of the healthcare professional’s breach of the duty of care. This can include physical injuries, worsened medical condition, emotional distress, financial losses, or other adverse consequences.

To establish a claim of medical negligence in South Africa, it is generally necessary to provide expert medical opinion as evidence to demonstrate the breach of the duty of care. This expert opinion is typically provided by another qualified healthcare professional practising in the same field.

Seeking guidance from a legal specialist who specializes in medical negligence cases is crucial to comprehend the particular legal prerequisites and procedures pertaining to pursuing a medical negligence claim in South Africa. Given the potential variation in laws and regulations, each case should be assessed based on its individual circumstances.

For further information or inquiries regarding medical malpractice insurance, please feel free to contact Shackleton Risk directly and our dedicated team will be happy to assist you.

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