Preez v. Pretorius

[2017] ZASCA 133
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The Appellant was diagnosed with testicular cancer and his left testicle was surgically removed. He did not like the oncologist who was refered by the surgeon and decided to go for alternative therapies. The respondent practised alternative therapies and treated the appellant for more than a year. The Appellant went back to conventional treatment and underwent four cycles of conventional chemotherapy. It was found that the appellant’s cancer was in remission.

The appellant ensued action against the respondent in the High Court stating that the respondent misrepresented to him that he was a suitable candidate for the alternative treatment. He also alleged that the respondent had misrepresented hat the treatment would cure the appellant’s cancer. The appellant stated that these misrepresentations induced him to enter into contract with the respondent and he suffered damages by incurring unnecessary medical and hospital expenses.

The Court dismissed the appeal with costs. It stated that the appellant did not produce any evidence proving that the statement that he was a suitable candidate for alternative therapy was false. Other statements were not even proven to be made. It was further not proven that because of the respondent’s conduct, the appellant was not cured of cancer.

 

“It was quite properly conceded in argument that it cannot be said that it was shown that any conduct of the respondent resulted in the cancer not being cured. Medical science does not speak of a cure. At most it can be said that cancer goes into remission. The entire foundation of the appellant’s case was thus not established. In any event, the appellant testified that he was aware that, however high the percentage chance of success might be, there was no guarantee that the IPT treatment would lead to remission. As such, it was always a possibility that he would in any event have to undergo conventional chemotherapy.” (Para 18)

“The appellant failed to prove that any conduct of the respondent caused him to suffer damages either at a contractual or delictual level. This means that the second and third causes of action were not established. There is therefore no basis on which the appeal can succeed.” (Para 21)

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