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Why there are no Covid-related medical malpractice lawsuits yet

16 June 2021 8:49 AM
Tags:
litigation
#Covid19

Refilwe Moloto talks to litigation attorney and associate and Adams and Admas Mthokozisi Maphumulo to find out more.
  • A litigation attorney explains why there are no medical malpractice or medical negligence cases in the courts linked to Covid-19 in South Africa
  • Courts may be unwilling to place blame on doctors and medical personnel because so little is still known about this relatively new disease

© chanawit/123rf.com

While medical malpractice and negligence lawsuits are not uncommon, why are there none which have been tied in with the Covid-19 pandemic, given how quickly the disease has spread and in some cases, linked to poor safety protocol?

Refilwe Moloto speaks to Mthokozisi Maphumulo, Senior Associate and Litigation Attorney at Adams and Adams.

At this point in time, there are no links with respect to claims for medical malpractice and medical negligence against doctors which are linked to Covid-19cases. This is a bit strange.

Mthokozisi Maphumulo, Senior Associate and Litigation Attorney - Adams and Adams

Maphumulo recalls that during both the first and second Covid-19 waves there was an expectation that there may be a rise in medical malpractice and medical negligence cases.

This concern was because such cases are quite rife in South Africa generally even before Covid-19.

Mthokozisi Maphumulo, Senior Associate and Litigation Attorney - Adams and Adams

He acknowledges that the disease is so new that finding a balance is challenging.

At this point, we do not know how the courts are going to deal with such cases if and when they d reach our courts, and one of the reasons why there may be no cases is because of the struggle lawyers are encountering having no point of reference.

Mthokozisi Maphumulo, Senior Associate and Litigation Attorney - Adams and Adams

There are no legal precedents that can be applied in such cases, he notes.

This becomes a problem in trying to evaluate and assess the chances of success if you take on such cases.

Mthokozisi Maphumulo, Senior Associate and Litigation Attorney - Adams and Adams

The courts may also be more lenient towards the doctors and medical personnel because no one really fully understands and appreciates everything surrounding the Covid-19 variants.

Mthokozisi Maphumulo, Senior Associate and Litigation Attorney - Adams and Adams

Courts may therefore not medical personnel liable for potential medical malpractice claims stemming from Covid-19, he notes

Doctors are also working under severe stress and pressure.

Mthokozisi Maphumulo, Senior Associate and Litigation Attorney - Adams and Adams



16 June 2021 8:49 AM
Tags:
litigation
#Covid19

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