'No one may be refused emergency medical treatment' - ethical dilemmas in South African emergency medicine

Efraim Benjamin Kramer


The Constitution of South Africa enshrines that no person may be refused emergency medical treatment. Unfortunately, the definition of a medical emergency ireamins unclear after Consitutional Court deliberations and as such may have profound practical implications in the enactment of this right to medical treatment. Similarly, there is no recognised defintion of what emergency medical treatment entails and what any patient in such a situation can be expected to receive, further complicating the unethical practice of redirecting patients away from emergency departments to other health care establishments under the guise of the Department of Health's system of hierarchy of servcies.

Author's affiliations

Efraim Benjamin Kramer, Univeristy of Witwatersrand

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emergency medicine, ethics, emergency triage

Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2008;1(2):53.

Article History

Date submitted: 2008-03-28
Date published: 2008-12-12

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