Bridging the regulatory gaps created by Smart and Connected technologies in South Africa

The prevalence of technology-embedded products, services, and cities, described colloquially as ‘smart’ technologies and ‘smart’ cities, has seen a spate of unprecedented growth in recent years. South Africa (SA) has not been left behind, with smartphones, smart watches, and smart voice-controlled virtual personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa now frequently used. But while these technologies hold great promise to revolutionise homes, offices and cities, their adoption poses challenges to individual and collective interests and wellbeing.

Turning the moral compass towards transformative research ethics: An inflection point for humanised pedagogy in higher education

Ethical guidance in research is underpinned by the need to show respect for study participants by upholding autonomy in participant decision-making, and confidentiality and protection of individual rights, privacy and interests, yet decision-making could also be influenced by the participant’s sociocultural and belief systems.

Changes in the empathy levels of a group of undergraduate medical students: A longitudinal study

The concept of empathy in students has gained significant attention in medical education. Whether implementing formal educational interventions to promote long-term and effective empathy levels leads to sustained increased empathy levels in students, is however less clear.

Human dignity and researcher conduct in emergency care research with incapacitated adults

Emergency care research sometimes involves incapacitated adults as research participants. The ethical principle of respect for autonomy may not necessarily apply to an incapacitated person unable to act in an autonomous manner, although it can be argued that researchers still have a duty of respect towards such people because they have moral status despite being incapacitated.

Unpacking the legality of termination of pregnancy based on ‘social grounds’ under South African law

The topic of abortion was in the limelight again in Dobbs v Jackson, where the US Supreme Court overturned the decision of Roe v Wade, ‘which guaranteed women and pregnant people a constitutional right to abortion’. While not bound by the judgment, this gives us an opportunity to reflect on the current law in South Africa which regulates the termination of pregnancy.

Inserting microethics into paediatric clinical care: A consideration of the models of the doctor-patient relationship

Microethics is about the ethics of everyday clinical practice. The subtle nuances in communication between doctor and patient (the doctor’s choice of words, tone, body language, gestures, etc.) can influence the exercise of the patient’s autonomy. The four models of the doctor- patient/physician-patient relationship (paternalistic, informative, interpretive, deliberative) weigh respect for autonomy and beneficence in varying proportions.

Using the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress to address the needs of adolescent mothers living with HIV

Various human rights issues arise from the intersection of adolescent motherhood and HIV. While health rights may be the most obvious means by which to address such issues through policy development and legislative means, the right to health is not the only human right that may provide recourse or relief in this regard.

Catch-22: A patient’s right to informational determination and the rendering of accounts by medical schemes

Many people who have reached the age of majority still qualify as financial dependents of their parents, and may be registered as dependents on their parents’ medical schemes. This poses a practical conundrum, because major persons enjoy complete autonomy over their bodies to choose healthcare services as they please, including informational determination.


Health Professions Council of South Africa


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South African Journal of Bioethics and Law - August 2023 Vol 16 No 2