n South African Medical Journal - Interference with the clinical independence of doctors in hospitals faced with a shortage of resources : what should doctors do? : forum - medicine and the law

Volume 104, Issue 11
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



In the face of interference with their clinical independence in hospitals with a shortage of resources, what should doctors do? The question can be answered by considering: () the constitutional right to healthcare and emergency treatment; () the common-law position regarding unlawful homicide and the doctrine of 'superior orders'; () the ethical rules of the Health Professions Council of South Africa; and () whether there is any protection for doctors who refuse to carry out unprofessional, unethical or unlawful directives from their superiors. While this article focuses on the public sector, some of the legal principles, where relevant, apply equally to doctors in the private sector.

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