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SOOBRAMONEY v MINISTER OF HEALTH (KwaZulu-Natal).doc -...

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Soobramoney v Minister of Health (KwaZulu-Natal)[1998] 1 All SA 268 (CC)Division:Constitutional CourtDate:27 November 1997Case No:CCT32/97Before:Chaskalson P; Langa DP; Ackermann, Didcott, Goldstone, Kriegler, Mokgoro,O’Regan, Sachs and Madala JJSourced by:PR JammySummarised by:S Moodliar• Editor’s Summary •Cases Referred toJudgmentConstitutional law – Interpretation of Constitution – Approach to be adopted – ConstitutionalCourt has adopted purposive approach which requires constitutional rights to be considered intheir context and not in isolation.Constitutional law – Right not to be refused emergency medical treatment – What constituted“emergency medical treatment” as contemplated insection 27(3)of the Constitution of theRepublic of South Africa Act108 of 1996– Patient suffering from irreversible chronic renalfailure which was not curable – Treatment on a dialysis machine would prolong his life – Suchtreatment not constituting emergency medical treatment.Constitutional law – Right of access to health care services – Patient suffering from irreversiblechronic renal failure which was not curable – Treatment on a dialysis machine would prolonghis life – State hospital refusing to provide such treatment due to lack of resources – Suchrefusal does not constitute infringement of patient’s constitutional rights.Constitutional law –Section 11– Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act108 of 1996Right to life – Patient suffering from irreversible chronic renal failure which was incurable –Treatment on a dialysis machine would prolong his life – State hospital refusing to provide suchtreatment due to lack of resources – Such refusal does not constitute infringement of patient’sconstitutional rights.Editors SummaryThe Appellant was an unemployed diabetic. He suffered from ischaemic heart disease andcerebro-vascular disease which had caused him to have a stroke in 1996. He was in the finalstages of irreversible chronic renal failure. His life could be prolonged by means of regularrenal dialysis.The Appellant had sought this treatment from the renal unit of the Addington state hospital.Due to the limited facilities available for kidney dialysis, the hospital was unable to provide theAppellant with the treatment requested.The Appellant brought an urgent application to the High Court for an order directing thehospital to provide him with ongoing dialysis treatment and interdicting the Respondent fromrefusing him admission to the renal unit of the hospital. The courta quofound that theRespondent had conclusively proven that there were no funds available to provide patientssuch as the Appellant with the treatment claimed and the application was dismissed. Onappeal to the Constitutional Court, the Appellant argued that the State could make additionalfunds available to the renal clinic and that it was obliged to do so to enable the clinic to

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Term
Fall
Professor
NoProfessor
Tags
Nephrology, Test, Chronic kidney disease, Chronic Renal Failure

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