|Firm||Romany Sutherland & Associates|
Cape Town, 8000
|Languages||English; Afrikaans; Zulu. (in order of proficiency)|
LLB (UKZN) Cert. MED LAW (UP) Mediator (UCT)
|Years of Service||10|
|Position in Firm||Consultant Attorney/ Mediator|
|Courts most familiar with||Western Cape and Southern Gauteng High Court|
|3rd Party claims||Aviation||Health Care|
|Litigation (Civil)||Litigation (High Court)||Mediation|
|Medical||Personal Injury||Wrongful Death|
FOCUSMedical Negligence Law // Medical Mediation and Risk Assessments
Medical Law Attorney: 2006 - 2017
I have been an attorney, specialising in medical law for over ten years. From the day I started my law degree I was adamant that the only law I would practice would incorporate my other, passion, medicine. In 2006 I started my articles and Munro, Flowers and Vermaak Attorneys in Johannesburg. In 2008, after being admitted as an attorney, I was offered an associate position at the firm. My position involved the management of a clinical negligence practice involving inter alia, pre-litigation case assessment, case preparation and litigation. In 2010 I joined A Batchelor and Associates in Cape Town. They specialised in Road Accident Fund Cases and wanted to expand into medical negligence. I was commissioned to assist with starting and running the clinical negligence department. In 2010 I updated the website and started marketing the new department using radio advertisements. With the help of a team of experts I ensured only the meritorious matters proceeded to litigation. In 2015, my life took a very different turn in that my mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. I felt it necessary to join my parents on our family farm to assist in the care of my mother and I accordingly left the practice in May 2015. I however continued to consult for a firm assisting in merit assessment and the quantification of claims.
Director and Branch Chair of SAMLA, Western Cape 2013 - 2017
SAMLA (South African Medico-Legal Association) is an independent, neutral, educational platform where medical and legal minds can meet to debate topical issues relating to medico-legal issues. It is an NPO, funded by membership contributions, donations and funds generated through seminars. In 2013 SAMLA consisted of a few members in and around Gauteng. They wanted to expand and I volunteered to start the Western Cape Branch. By way of example, in early 2014 with an energetic team and a great sponsor, we held a very successful seminar which attracted 200+ delegates which consisted of lawyers, doctors, professors in medical Law, medical specialists, physiotherapists, Psychologists, Occupational therapists etc. This was followed by a seminar whereby airline pilots were invited to discuss ways in which risks are averted in aviation by enhancement of communication styles, incorporating checklists and confidential peer reviews. Using Dr Atul Gawande’s “checklist manifesto” as an introduction, various medical experts gave their opinions on what the medical fraternity could learn from aviation in an effort to reduce the incidence of negligence. Since 2014, SAMLA Western Cape has hosted biannual seminars discussing various topics such as: the training of medico-legal experts in report writing and expert testimony; mock trials and mock mediations; discussions and debates of new case law and court practices etc.
SAMLA Communications Director 2016
This marketing portfolio included the updating of the SAMLA website, making it interactive and a portal for the delivery of up to date case law, journal articles and SAMLA news. SAMLA became well supported by the National Department of Health and our Chair, Judge Claassen was asked to join a specialised task team in the investigation of the clinical negligence crisis in South Africa.
Accredited Mediator 2014 - 2017
I obtained a certificate as an accredited mediator from Mediation in Motion (MiM) in conjunction with the University of Cape Town. Mediation, as an alternate form of dispute resolution will decrease legal costs substantially, increase access to justice and provide alternative compensation options. In 2014, I represented a client in one of the first medical mediations in the Western Cape. Although monetary compensation was given in this case, both patient and surgeon was given the opportunity to discuss their views on the incident. I was astonished to witness the power of an apology and a concession. I believe that this spherical approach to compensation is paramount in decreasing costs related to litigation and preserving the patient/doctor relationship.
A great delight for me is presenting to various medical specialists. I enjoy the challenge of finding case law specific to each discipline and debating the legalities thereof. The doctors in turn receive Continuous Progress Development (CPD) points for their attendance.
Here are some of my highlights:
2017 Presenter and facilitator of upcoming seminar for SAMLA, SASOG (South African Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) and MiM (Mediation in Motion) to be held on 3 June 2017 - on the explosion of what is commonly known as the CP/HIE cases, which has resulted in empty public health coffers and uninsurable specialists. Our Mission is to study these cases from all angles:
1) Medical - Obstetrics, Midwifery, Genetics, Neonatology, Neurology -brain cooling etc
2) Legal – Minimising risk: implementing checklists, updating the partograph, and increasing training
Debate: changing the way claimants are compensated as a means of diverting attention away from litigation and minimising parental trauma - eg. deploying trained caregivers and providing access to physiotherapy as soon as a diagnosis of HIE is made and liability may be in question.
21/06/2016 Presentation to the Department of Health, North West Province on invitation of the MEC for Health, Dr Masike in Mafikeng. Topic: The Current Clinical Negligence Crisis in South Africa, curbing negligence by implementing communication techniques and checklists as used in aviation. Curbing the costs of litigation by looking at Mediation as an alternative form of dispute resolution.
11/04/2016 Presentation at COMOC 2016 (World Combined Orthopaedic Congress) Cape Town ICC: The current Clinical Negligence Crisis in South Africa and advantages of using mediation as an alternative form of dispute resolution to litigation in clinical negligence matters. Delegates from New Zealand, Canada, the UK and USA presented on the current clinical negligence situation in their own countries.
08/2014 A highlight of my career was attending the Constitutional Court as Plaintiff’s representative in the hearing of an appeal involving various changes to the common law.
H v Foetal Assessment Centre 2015 (2) SA 193 (CC)
Interviewed hereon by: ENCA (E News Chanel Africa), The Cape Times Newspaper, Cape Talk Radio, The South African Broadcasting Corporation and News 24.
06/2014 Presentations/ lectures to Managers, Medical Specialists and Nursing staff at Medicare Private Hospital in Rustenburg on the prevention and handling of Hospital Acquired Infections. Made proposals and facilitated Infection Control Protocols with hospital management and monitored compliance thereof.
The following are some of my general presentation:
General Practitioners in Southern Mpumalanga
Aspects of clinical negligence litigation, mediation, Consumer Protection Act, informed consent, infection control, record keeping, etc.
Spinal Society: Annual General Meeting
Problems relating to post-surgical care in spinal surgeries, introduction to mediation.
Dept. Neurosurgery, Tygerberg Hospital
Problems relating to post-surgical care in spinal surgeries, introduction to mediation, instructions to nursing staff.
3rd Pan African Imaging and Radiology Conference
Clinical Negligence Law and the ethical and legal concerns in Radiology.
Dept. Radiology Stellenbosch University/ Tygerberg Campus
Medical law and ethics, focus on radiology and adult fractures.
Dept. of Plastic and Reconstruction Surgery Stellenbosch University/ Tygerberg Campus
Plaintiff’s perspective on medical negligence law.
HOBBIES AND ENJOYMENTS: I enjoy listening to music, gardening and dining with friends. I am interested in Aviation, Medicine, Innovation and Politics.
My Consultancy firms assesses medical disputes, prepares parties for mediation of the dispute, suggests possible mediators, obtain documents and secure the necessary expert reports (preferably joint) make sure rights of all parties are protected.
|Average Hourly Fees||unknown
Please note that this is an indicative rate and may vary according to task. Please request a quote for exact amounts.
|Number of Qualified Attorneys||1|
|Number of staff in firm||1|
|Date Firm Established||2017|
|Other Branches of this Firm|