Article

Practice of community-service doctors in the assessment and medico-legal documentation of common physical assault cases

Published in: South African Family Practice
Volume 60, issue 1, 2018, pages: 21–25
DOI: 10.1080/20786190.2017.1364014
Author(s): L FouchéDivision of Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, South Africa, J BezuidenhoutDivision of Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, South Africa, C LiebenbergDepartment of Forensic Medicine, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, South Africa, AO AdefuyeDivision of Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, South Africa

Abstract

Background: In South Africa, allegations of physical assault are managed primarily at the primary healthcare level, where they are attended to by medical officers or community service doctors (CSDs). However, reports that the knowledge and skills provided at undergraduate level are not sufficient to equip these CSDs to deal with evidence in medico-legal examinations in various settings, including in cases of patients who allege being the victims of common physical assault or assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, have been documented in the literature. This study investigates the practice of CSDs in relation to the assessment and medico-legal documentation of allegations of common assault, with a view to identifying gaps in their knowledge of clinical forensic medicine.

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