Laws and ethics pertaining to anaesthetic practice in South Africa: case-based narrative



laws, ethics, anaesthetic practice, case-based narrative


Anaesthetists require knowledge of the laws and ethics in order to be able to deal with ethicolegal dilemmas that may arise in their practice. A study by Mamoojee and Alli1 done at a major academic centre in South Africa (SA) concluded that anaesthetists have suboptimal knowledge of the law, with specific reference to informed consent for surgery, which is pivotal to their work. Another study performed in the same centre also reported an inadequate knowledge of the medicolegal process following an anaesthetic-related incident,2 furthermore highlighting the gap in knowledge with regards to laws and ethics pertaining to anaesthetic practice. An attempt is made in this paper to fill this gap. This narrative employs the use of case scenarios to present possible ethicolegal dilemmas and the application of the relevant laws and ethical principles pertaining to the practice of anaesthesia in SA, to answer questions arising from the presented scenarios.

Author Biographies

HJ Moutlana, University of the Witwatersrand

Department of Anaesthesiology, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

ME Sethusa

Private Practice, South Africa

KS Matlala, University of Limpopo

Department of Health, Waterberg District, Mokopane Hospital, University of Limpopo, South Africa






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