The purpose of this dissertation is to analyse the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in South Africa from a legal point of view. The researcher has practical experience in the EMS and this has given her insight as to how the EMS operates, the grey areas in this unique profession and how the EMS is regulated by the South African law.
A brief background of the EMS is given as well as how the system operates now and what EMS providers deal with on a day-to-day basis. This provides a clear picture of how diverse and unpredictable the EMS profession truly is. How the law regulates the EMS is discussed and all the grey areas from a medico-legal point of view are pointed out and analysed. During this discussion, the researcher makes use of her practical experience to explain why certain situations EMS providers have to deal with on a regular basis are so complex and why the EMS is in need of a better regulatory framework. The grounds of justification in medical law are also discussed and applied to the pre-hospital environment.
The researcher made use of the EMS of the United States of America (USA) and the EMS of Australia in the comparative section, analysed how their respective EMS systems operates and how it is regulated by the law. This is ultimately compared to the EMS of South Africa and recommendations were made as to how the regulation of the EMS system, as a whole, can improve in the future.