South Africa: Why TAC Wants a Say in Major Medical Negligence Case

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A case that may be heading to the Constitutional Court could determine whether the state can be held liable for medical negligence in certain instances. Motheo Brodie explains why the TAC is seeking to be admitted as a friend of the court in this landmark case.

A medical negligence case recently decided by the Supreme Court of Appeal has brought into question the fairness of strictly applying the legal test for causation. Applying the current test too strictly, makes it virtually impossible for the court to find in the favour of an aggrieved applicant, such as the mother of a baby who suffered brain damage, even where the negligence of a state institution is clear.

There is a worrying trend of systematic medical negligence in our hospitals. The Supreme Court of Appeal recently remarked that "far too often this court is confronted with serious and serial negligence" in hospitals falling under the respondent (Eastern Cape Department of Health)... it is clear that studied neglect of standards has become pervasive in many such hospitals. Those reliant upon their services are receiving substandard care".

Often women are left to go into labour and give birth, often by themselves, without the appropriate level...

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