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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


DHAI, A. The Life Esidimeni tragedy: Moral pathology and an ethical crisis. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2018, vol.108, n.5, pp.382-385. ISSN 2078-5135.

The Life Esidimeni tragedy highlights several ethical transgressions. Health professionals' ethics are put to the test when their own interests are balanced against competing claims. Core values of compassion, competence and autonomy, together with respect for fundamental human rights, serve as the foundation of ethical practice in healthcare. These values are increasingly being challenged by governments and other third parties. The duties conferred on healthcare practitioners require them to act responsibly and be accountable for their actions. Codes in healthcare serve as a source of moral authority. The Gauteng health authorities exerted tremendous power and created a culture of fear and disempowerment among healthcare practitioners. When health professionals choose to support state interests instead of those of patients, problematic dual-loyalty conflicts arise.

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