Communicate, collaborate and document: the pillars to avoid and manage complaints


  • Basil Vrettos South African Orthopaedic Association


It is an unfortunate sign of the times that complaints and litigation against the medical profession are increasing, even going as far as doctors being accused of assault and culpable homicide. Orthopaedic surgery is not exempt from this, and the SAOA has received a number of complaints from patients over the last year regarding surgeons. In other cases, patients have gone directly down the legal route and/or to the HPCSA. Complaints can result in extreme stress, affecting the mental health of the surgeon, and cases can take years to resolve. An example is a case in the last few years which went to court 11 years after the initial complaint. The surgeon endured extreme stress for all those years and in the end, the case was dismissed in court.

Author Biography

Basil Vrettos, South African Orthopaedic Association

President 2022/2023, South African Orthopaedic Association






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