Legal Medicine and Drug-Resistant TB in South Africa

Reference work entry

Abstract

Tuberculosis poses a threat to public health in South Africa. The situation is aggravated by an inadequate health infrastructure, the AIDS epidemic, and a growing incidence of drug-resistant TB which is mainly caused by treatment failure. This scenario raises many legal issues, such as whether mandatory treatment may be imposed when all reasonable efforts to obtain patients’ consent and voluntary participation in treatment have failed. Since patients have to be treated in isolation, the question also arises whether mandatory isolation may be imposed and, if so, for which periods of time and under which conditions. Mandatory measures will seriously invade individual rights that are guaranteed by the South African Constitution. These rights are not absolute and may be restricted, and the law requires that a balance be struck between the rights of the individual patient and those of the community. While the South African law on the requirement of informed consent is clear enough, the legal position is far from settled with regard to involuntary measures, as no definitive measures have been adopted yet. This contribution describes applicable South African health law.

Keywords

Human Dignity Communicable Disease Medical Tourism Court Order Involuntary Treatment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgment

This contribution is based on Van Wyk CW. Legal aspects of drug resistant TB – Can I isolate or incarcerate my patient? Paper presented at: Workshop on Drug Resistant Tuberculosis: Current Practice, Controversies and Clinical Challenges; 2010 Sep 3–5; University of Cape Town; S Afr Respir J. 2011.

This material is based upon work supported by the South African National Research Foundation. Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author, and therefore, the NRF does not accept any liability in regard thereto.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of JurisprudenceUniversity of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Faculty of LawUniversity of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa

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