Medical Malpractice and Neglect Endanger South African Patients

Medical Malpractice and Neglect Endanger South African Patients
Medical Malpractice and Neglect Endanger South African Patients

South Africa has a thriving and modern medical system. In fact, there are both private and public health care options available to people who live in South Africa. However, adequate funding and staffing remain an issue in South Africa, as in most other major countries, when it comes to Health Care.

For patients, the desire to keep costs low and Staffing minimal can pose serious risks. After all, if there isn’t adequate staff on hand, someone in critical need could go without treatment. Overworked staff may be more likely to make dangerous mistakes. Despite significant medical advances in recent years, there is still noteworthy risk to patients in the South African medical system.

Thousands of People Claim Medical Neglect In South Africa Each Year

Keeping costs low is important to hospitals, doctors, and policymakers. Lower costs for medical care can also benefit patients, who may be more likely to seek treatment if they know they can pay. However, many times medical facilities and state decision-makers put profit before Public Health.

Decisions that focus on money instead of the quality of care can lead to Serious neglect. Since 2014, more than 5,500 people have claimed medical neglect in South Africa. Some of these people are victims themselves, while others have lost loved ones. The tragic case of Life Healthcare Esidimeni is a perfect example. At least 143 people died after the closure of a psychiatric facility in Gauteng, some from starvation.

Active Medical Abuse Is Also a Concern

Abuse is also a concern, especially for those in nursing care or psychiatric facilities. Professionals without medical degrees working in these medical fields may not receive excellent pay. That, combined with understaffing, can lead to developing resentments and frustrations in the staff. Since they can’t take their anger out on the business, they may choose to take it out on patients. Those who have severe mental health issues or mobility problems may be at increased risk of abuse. Physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse of patients are all known to occur.

Medical Malpractice Can Also Involve Mistakes

Some medical malpractice is not as aggressive as physical abuse or as systemic as neglect. Doctors and nurses can just make mistakes. When doctors make mistakes, patients may have the option of seeking medical malpractice claims against the individual doctor or the facility that employed them. Forgetting to administer a medication to a patient before surgery, for example, could have serious consequences. Similarly, mistakes made during operations can prove fatal in some cases.

While South Africa has been changing its laws on medical malpractice claims, that doesn’t mean you don’t have rights as a patient. If you or a loved one experienced abuse, harassment, or neglect in a medical facility, you might have legal rights under South African law. The most important steps you can take are to document your experience and inform yourself about your legal rights as a patient.