Doctors and Culpable Homicide

The recent judgment of the high court in Van Der Walt and the State is apparently being taken on appeal. In the judgment the court hearing an appeal from the regional court confirmed the conviction and sentencing of the appellant, a doctor, for culpable homicide. It will be interesting to see what an appeal court […]

Being an expert witness in a medical malpractice case

Medical malpractice cases often rely on the expert witness testimony of doctors and other medical professionals in order to assist the court in understanding complex medical issues. The court makes the ultimate decision based on the facts as determined and the law, but medical experts are invaluable in guiding the court on medical science and […]


The judgement of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Life Healthcare and Dr AS Suliman contains a number of salutary lessons for medical practitioners. By Donald Dinnie, CEO of Natmed Medical Defence. When a doctor covers for another, that does not mean that the covering doctor is merely on standby for any emergency that could […]

Understanding Non-Disclosure

It is sometimes, incorrectly, thought that mere non-disclosure by an insured of any fact/s entitles the insurer to avoid the insurance policy. That is not so. The non-disclosure, or if it is a positive false disclosure, a misrepresentation, must be wrongful. It is not sufficient that it is simply false or misleads. The non-disclosure must […]

World-first for Cape Town

South Africa is among a handful of countries that can claim to be leading the way in the field of endoscopic gynaecology. So, it is fitting that we will be hosting the world’s first endoscopic gynaecology conference this month, from 13 to 17 April, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). The conference, hosted […]

Getting informed consent right – a successful case study

Medical practitioners are very familiar with the requirement to obtain informed consent (or in appropriate cases, informed refusal) before treating a patient. It happens from time to time that a patient in a complaint to the Health Professionals Council of South Africa or a damages claim in the courts, alleges a failure to have obtained […]

Duty of Care

It is not only medical practitioners who owe a duty of care to their patients, in conducting themselves with reasonable skill and care. Adminstrative staff at hospitals and doctors’ rooms, e.g. a receptionist at an accident and emergency unit, owe a duty not to provide misinformation to patients. By Donald Dinnie, CEO of Natmed Medical […]