Cancer patients get ready to sue
THE Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal faces legal action from state cancer patients running into millions of rands following the recent finding it had violated their rights to care and treatment.
“We are already seeing a spike in queries following the ruling and are consulting with some clients around this matter. The ruling against the department by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is precedent-setting even though it is yet to be tested in court,” lawyer Ahmed Amod said.
The report found the department had failed in its obligation to provide adequate oncology services. The commission also found the department had failed to procure, maintain or put in place CT scanners within a reasonable time.
The potential law suits will place further pressure on ta department already facing more than R10 billion in negligence claims and a failing health system.
Amod cautioned against depending on the ruling alone to sue and urged patients to consider their options carefully.
“The ruling cannot be used as prima facie evidence on its own in a civil suit, but can certainly be used to support a potential case. The claimant will also need to prove without doubt that their cancer was adversely affected by the actions of the department.”
“Given the costs of cancer care and treatment, a potential case against the department could run into millions, but each one will need to be looked at on its own merit based on the facts at hand.”