South African Medical Journal

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'n Beroepsplig om te genees!

P. C. Smit


The rules of South African law are analysed, especially any possible rules whic.h may impose a duty upon a medical practitioner to heal in cases where the patient refuses treatment. The conclusion is reached that a refusal of medical treatment expressed on behalf of a minor child or an unconscious patient might safely be ignored by a medical practitioner. but that an express refusal by a major patient of full legal capacity should be heeded. It is also concluded that. according to South Afri<;:an law, there rests no legal duty upon a medical practitionerto treat a patient where such treatment - even if necessary to save the patient's life - is refused by the patient himself. Therefore, where the conditions imposed by a Jehovah's Witness preclude a medical practitioner from practising good medicine, he should refuse the case.

AJOL African Journals Online