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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

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


MCQUOID-MASON, D J. Should a provincial MEC responsible for health, registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, who publicly humiliates a vulnerable undocumented foreigner who has received urgent medical attention for childbirth at an understaffed government hospital, be disciplined for unprofessional conduct?. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2023, vol.113, n.3, pp.122-124. ISSN 2078-5135.

The Limpopo MEC for Health, during a hospital visit, was recently shown in a video to have humiliated a vulnerable undocumented Zimbabwean woman patient, resulting in the hospital workers present laughing at the unfortunate patient. The patient had arrived at a hospital in the province that was short-staffed and under-resourced because of failings on the part of the Department of Health. She wished to give birth to her child in a safe environment, because the shortage of proper facilities in Zimbabwe posed a threat to her and her unborn child. The conduct of the MEC is measured against the patient's rights under the Constitution of South Africa and the National Health Act 61 of 2003, and her conduct is discussed in the light of the Health Professions Act 56 of 1974 and the Ethical Rules of Conduct of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). The conclusion reached is that the MEC had breached the Constitution, the National Health Act, the Health Professions Act and the Ethical Rules of Conduct of the HPCSA, and should be disciplined by the HPCSA, as required by the Health Professions Act.

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