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Health Care & Social

Mother sues after baby's arm amputated

The mother of a baby who lost his arm due to alleged medical negligence at the Stanger Hospital is suing the KZN MEC of Health for R7m. The matter is set down for June, notes a Sunday Tribune report.

Judge lashes department for reckless litigation

KZN’s Department of Health has received a judicial tongue-lashing, first for an ‘astounding’ lack of care given to a mother who gave birth to a brain-damaged baby, and then for wasting money by fighting her damages claim, says a News24 report. Acting Judge Sandhya Mahabeer, in a recent judgment, said it should have been obvious from the ‘joint minutes’ signed by medical experts representing the mother, Nokwanda Charlotte Mqadi, and the department that ‘the claim was indefensible’.

Toilets test case for Cape Town

By Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd Published on Thursday, 09 November 2017
Civil Rights Health Care & Social
Do residents of Cape Town’s informal settlements receive inferior sanitation services to those provided to residents living in wealthier areas? Does this constitute unfair discrimination? On 5 and 6 December 2017, the Equality Court will hear an application from the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) against the City of Cape Town which raises these questions.

Top court hears battle for use of dagga

The state lined up against Rastafarians and other dagga users in the Constitutional Court yesterday when it heard an appeal against the Western Cape High Court ruling that the laws that banned the private use of dagga in a person's home were unconstitutional, ordering Parliament to revise laws governing the cultivation and private use of dagga within two years.

Case for staggered medical negligence awards fails

In a case which highlighted the growing burden of medical negligence payouts on state entities, the Gauteng Health Department didn’t help its cause when it failed to bring any evidence to the Constitutional Court on why the court should change the law to allow it to pay court-ordered awards monthly rather than a lump sum. Instead of paying R23m owed to a woman (DZ) for the medical care of her brain-damaged son‚ the department argued in the High Court, SCA and Constitutional Courts that negligence law needs to be changed to allow monthly payments.

Medical negligence claims run to thousands

More than 5 500 medical negligence claims have been made against the Health Department since 2014‚ Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said yesterday. According to a TimesLIVE report, the number grows each year. In response to a parliamentary question by DA MP Anchen Dreyer‚ Motsoaledi said that 1 562 claims had been made in the 2014/15 year‚ 1 732 in 2015/16 and 1 934 in 2016/17. So far in the current financial year‚ 360 claims had been lodged.

Ground-breaking ruling against parents who hit children

Parents who hit children will no longer be able to plead special defence in court if criminally charged, says a Pretoria News report. Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) Judge Raylene Keightley has ruled that the defence of reasonable chastisement was not in line with the Constitution and no longer applied in law. The judgment did not create a new offence, as hitting a child – whether your own or someone else’s – has always been assault under the country’s criminal law.

Why 118 Life Esidimeni patients died – ombud

The fear of challenging authority, coupled with the reluctance to take accountability, is what led to the deaths of 118 patients under the care of the Gauteng provincial government. This is according to Health Ombudsman Malegapuru William Makgoba, who was the first witness to present evidence to an arbitration committee set up to probe the deaths of the patients, notes a Business Day report.

Do You Need an “Advance Directive” or a “Living Will”?

By Ashersons Attorneys Published on Friday, 29 September 2017
Estate Planning & Trusts Health Care & Social
If you don’t want to be kept artificially alive – without your consent and perhaps in pain and distress – long after your medical condition becomes hopeless, you need to communicate your decision now to the doctors, hospitals and loved ones who will be caring for you at the end.

Terminally ill pair in new bid to legalise euthanasia

By Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd Published on Tuesday, 19 September 2017
Civil Rights Health Care & Social Litigation
A medical doctor and one of her patients have filed a combined application in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) requesting the court to legalise euthanasia. A Beeld report notes that Dr Sue Walter (43) – a specialist in palliative care – and patient Dieter Harck (68) are both terminally ill with cancer and motor-neuron disease respectively.

KZN feeding scheme case struck from roll

By Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd Published on Thursday, 03 August 2017
Education Law Health Care & Social Litigation
It is not a question of whether the school children will be fed, but of who will feed the school children and derive the profit therefrom.’ The Mercury reports this is how the KZN Department of Education has – in court papers – described the case against its ‘corrupt’ awarding of a R1.4bn tender for the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) in the province.

Mandela's medical information is 'sacrosanct'

Any patient-related information within the doctor-patient relationship is sacrosanct, and must be respected, even after death. A Cape Times report says the SA Medical Association (Sama) said this following the release – and subsequent withdrawal – of a book detailing the last days of former President Nelson Mandela. The book was written by former SANDF surgeon-general Dr Vejay Ramlakan, who was part of the medical team treating Mandela in the months before his death.

Mandela book withdrawn following legal threats

Penguin Random House SA acted swiftly yesterday to withdraw Dr Vejay Ramlakan’s book as legal action looms. The Star reports this came after the executors of Nelson Mandela’s estate – Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Advocate George Bizos and Judge Themba Sangoni – stepped in to consider laying a complaint with the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) and the SANDF.

Widow threatens to sue over doctor's Mandela book

Former President Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, has threatened to sue Mandela’s doctor Vejay Ramlakan over his newly released book, Mandela’s Last Years, according to a City Press report. Ramlakan reportedly details Mandela’s last years, including intimate moments prior to his death. Machel has slammed the book, saying it is degrading and tarnishes the image of the struggle icon.

Father barred from smoking in front of children

By Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd Published on Thursday, 13 July 2017
Family Law Health Care & Social Litigation
In an unusual case, a father has been barred from smoking in front of his children. According to a Beeld report, the father brought an urgent application before the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) to force his estranged wife to place their children in his care until 23 July. The couple’s eldest child has a physical disability and the father told the court that he wanted to contribute to the specialised care the child needs, but the mother was refusing to allow the children to stay with him.

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