Psychologist cleared of negligence - News

Johannesburg - After an eight year legal battle, a prominent Joburg neuropsychologist and university professor has been cleared of a negligence claim by a woman who insisted he ruined her life.

Professor Edward Wolff has practised psychology for 38 years and has spent most of that time also lecturing at the University of Johannesburg.

File pictur. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

However, a civil claim by one of his former patients, Salome Maree, had been hanging over his head for eight years. She said he misdiagnosed her as having Alzheimer's disease.

But last week, the high court in Joburg ruled that there was no evidence he had made such a diagnosis, and that Maree, who has since died, had for years failed to tell her numerous other doctors about the disease she allegedly believed she had.

Maree had claimed that between 1995 and 2006, she was suffering from the progressive disease based on an alleged diagnosis by Wolff.

In court documents, she said that because of the diagnosis, she had lost her job, her husband had left her, and she had become so depressed she tried to commit suicide.

She claimed she only became aware she did not have the disease in 2007, when she heard a radio show describing the symptoms of Alzheimers.

Wolff told the court that he had diagnosed Maree with severe depression and had recommended she visit other specialists.

During the civil trial last month, several other doctors reports from 1995 to 1998 were handed in and showed that at no point had Maree mentioned that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimers.

In her ruling, Judge Margaret Victor said: There is nothing suggesting the defendant (Wolff) told the plaintiff (Maree) that she had Alzheimers.

Maree died in 2012 but the executor of her will had insisted the civil case continue.

For the professor, the case dragging on for eight years was extremely painful.

This was perhaps one of the greatest examples of what those in the medical profession is put through daily basis, he said of the negligence claim.

The Star

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