The NHI, funding healthcare and medico-legal claims

With the publication of the National Health Insurance Bill, proposed amendments to the Medical Schemes Act, and the anticipation of amendments to another 12 or so pieces of legislation needed to implement National Health Insurance, a review of the funding of medico-legal claims would also be useful. National Health Insurance is the proposed funding model […]

Bleak House, A Tale Of Wealth And Health For Patients And Doctors?

Donald Dinnie, CEO Natmed Medical Defence, and Volker von Widdern, CEO Constantia Insurance Company, discuss the changes needed to address South Africa’s medico-legal crisis. The fictional case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce in Charles Dicken’s Bleak House tells of a long running court case disputing payment under a will. It ran for generations terminating in a judgment when the […]

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 […]

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 […]