The amended legislation on procedure-related deaths - an advance in patient care?

T E Madiba, Poonitha Naidoo, S R Naidoo


Deaths during or after a surgical procedure may be considered medico-legal and subjected to medico-legal autopsy and inquest. We define death in medical terms and discuss the implications of the provisions of the Amended Health Professions Act of 1974 and its recent amendment. Problems with the old and new definitions of such deaths and whether the amendment provides additional patient protection for the patient are considered. We challenge the South African law-makers to review the all-inclusive terminology in relation to such deaths.

Authors' affiliations

T E Madiba, Department of Surgery, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Poonitha Naidoo, Faculty of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal

S R Naidoo, Department oF Forensic Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban

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anaesthetic death, procedure-related death, Health Professions Act

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2011;101(4):234-236.

Article History

Date submitted: 2010-10-15
Date published: 2011-04-04

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