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Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is defined as an act of negligence or an omission by a medical professional that results in personal injury to a patient.

Doctors are legally bound to a code of professional conduct which guides their behaviour and ensures they always act in the best interests of their patients. When a doctor or other healthcare professional is aware of potential consequences before they proceed with treatment but chooses to proceed anyway, it is considered medical malpractice.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

  • Misdiagnosis of a condition resulting in incorrect treatment
  • Failure to diagnose at all
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Poor follow-up treatment or aftercare
  • Disregarding patient history
  • Obtaining inadequate patient history before treatment
  • Premature discharge from hospital

What is Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence occurs when unforeseen negative consequences arise from medical treatment which could have been reasonably avoided by a doctor or other healthcare professional.

Injury or harm to patients due to the action, inaction, or simple ignorance of a healthcare professional, is considered medical negligence. In other words, the healthcare professional may not have ill-intent towards the patient, but their conduct still leads to injury or harm.

Examples of Medical Negligence

  • When a doctor prescribes medication without taking note of dangerous drug interactions which could result in serious consequences for the patient
  • Accidentally puncturing an organ during surgery
  • Administering the incorrect dose of anesthesia 
  • Leaving a foreign object in a patient’s body after surgery

Claiming for Medical Malpractice and Negligence in South Africa

There is often an overlap between medical malpractice and negligence, and each case is treated individually according to its facts and circumstances.

Our attorneys can help you establish whether your case falls under malpractice or negligence and will provide you with expert legal advice and assistance when claiming compensation for either of these.


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Posted by Cor van Deventer on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 Views: 2683