Medical Backronyms

A backronym is a reverse acronym.  That is, an expression that has been formed from the letters of an existing word or name. The word backronym is a blend of “backward” and “acronym”. It is a constructed phrase which purports to be the source of a word that is an acronym. An acronym, of course, […]


The patient brought a claim in her representative capacity as the mother and guardian of a minor child, who she alleged suffered harm during birth due to the negligence of staff at a public health institution, which resulted in the child suffering from cerebral palsy. The plaintiff was successful in her claim. Judgment The minor […]

Some lessons (and comfort) for obstetricians and gynaecologists

It is worthwhile revisiting the 2014 Supreme Court of Appeal judgment in the matter of Sibisi and Dr Maitin for the positive lessons it holds for obstetricians and gynaecologists. The doctor was successful both in the lower court and on appeal in defending the action for alleged medical negligence against him. The Plaintiff, the mother […]

Recordkeeping and the value of the mundane

The 7 May 2019 recent judgment of the Gauteng High Court in amongst others, Viviers and MEC for Health Gauteng is unexceptionable on the facts as accepted by the Court.  It indirectly contains an important reminder of the significant role which contemporaneous and comprehensive record keeping can play for healthcare practitioners and healthcare facility operators […]

Presenting your evidence in the small claims court

The small claims court resolves matters speedily, inexpensively and informally.  Whether you are the Claimant (the Plaintiff) or the party opposing the claim (the Defendant), you must conduct your own case in court without legal representation.  Proceedings are inquisitorial so the commissioner plays an active role in supervising the presentation of the evidence and assisting […]

Minors, blood tranfusions and the court

The media reported a few months back on the case of a Durban boy whose life was saved after his paediatrician went to court, on an urgent basis, to approve life-saving blood transfusions for him. The boy suffers from sickle cell anemia. The court made an interim order allowing the boy to receive blood transfusions, […]

Periodic payments in medico-legal claims

The news media has for some time now been replete with reports of the enormous financial burden faced by Provincial Health Departments in respect of medical malpractice claims against the Departments, writes Donald Dinnie, CEO of Natmed Medical Defence (Pty) Ltd. The contingent liability of the Provinces for medical negligence claims runs in the billions […]