Tag Archives: malpractice responsibility

Clinical negligence practice across the globe: the stats and numbers

With the rising number of clinical negligence claims around the world the question of  when and who is expected to provide compensation in cases where the episodes of clinical negligence were found and confirmed. Whether it is going to be a provider of healthcare services or insurance company, the system of social insurance funds or some organisations funded by contributions of physicians and (or) patients, or the state.

To facilitate the growing burden of medical fees for insurance policies of professional responsibility the British government in 1990 introduced a national system of liability insurance that covers doctors (except family) and dentists working in hospitals and other medical institutions of public health sector. Under this system, compensation for damage is caused by medical intervention, paying those medical institutions employing doctors found guilty of causing damage. This increased control of the management of health care organisations over the work of staff. According to solicitors.guru, the legal platform gathering hundreds of medical negligence solicitors under one roof, the introduction of the process has significantly unloaded courts and positively affected the average hearing period.

As a rule, disputes over compensation for damages, suffered as a result of medical intervention, are resolved in court. It is always associated with a fairly complex and lengthy procedure of trial and emotional stress on the part of the patient (the plaintiff), and health worker (the defendant) and the administration of treatment of the organisation. The practice of law and forensic evaluation of adverse outcomes of medical care shows that in 33-58% of cases the patient’s dissatisfaction with medical care during the subsequent examination of medical assistance is assessed as adequate. The proportion of European medical practice in such cases ranges from 53 to 59%. At the same time, many of these incidents could have been avoided, keeping staff away from from unproductive conflict resolution in court and saving time for forensic on challenging commission assessment of the quality of care. High developed economies have long admitted the fact that the price of the complaint that goes beyond the clinic, starts to rise steadily, acquiring judicial, expert and other costs. For example, in the US the cost of a three-year trial on the complaint exceeds $13,000. In addition to the economic losses arising from the conflict in the area of health care, you cannot ignore the moral damage inflicted to both sides, which ultimately leads to higher prices and lower quality of care.

To assist the patients with proving that the cause of the damage is nothing but medical intervention a system of compensation for the damage suffered by the patient,  requiring no specific perpetrators and the evidence of their guilt, which is especially difficult for the victim, is widely utilised. It is based on the concept of liability without fault. For the first time such a system has been introduced in New Zealand in the early 70s, where it acts as a kind of social security. The concept comes from the fact that in some cases the damage to a patient during a medical intervention was not an episode of gross negligence or negligent actions of the medical staff, but may be explained by the unfavorable circumstances, unforeseen reaction of the patient and other unpredictable factors due to which the damage was caused.

Medical negligence risk factors and classifications explained

The classification of medical errors reflects their true causes. On the one hand, they are objective and do not depend on medical capabilities, but on the other hand, there are subjective mistakes negligence, carelessness, including the reckless actions of the doctor.

Such errors as random errors are possible in tough conditions of operation, abnormalities in blood vessels and organs, in insufficient experience of the surgeon in charge of operations due to objectively prevailing circumstances. These errors are considered to be the ones in good faith and don’t imply criminal prosecution. Imperfection of medical knowledge and surgical approaches leads to an accident in medical practice, for example, in cases where a minor intervention ends with fatal bleeding. However, in these situations it is necessary to find out whether the doctor provides the possible complications of such an operation, or they arise as a result of the above circumstances (unusual anatomical structure, congenital organ malformation, etc.). Only a commission of experts, taking into account all the circumstances may give an opinion on the occurrence of death due to an accident or due to careless actions of a physician.

The legal responsibilities of a health care worker in case of professional offense is a broad concept. The crime can be committed either intentionally or through negligence. A crime is considered to be negligent if a medical worker that committed it foresaw the risk of socially dangerous consequences that the actions (or inactions) could cause, but for some reason didn’t facilitate their prevention either; in some cases a person just didn’t foresee the consequences, although they should have and could have been foreseen. In this situation, two different forms of negligence are considered: the one designated as a criminal arrogance, the other one as a criminal negligence. The cases of criminal negligence are not really rare, since only around 38% of claimants get compensation in the courts, meaning that the amount of criminal cases has a potential of climbing up to 15-17%, according to solicitors.guru, an expert online platform in medical negligence, gathering hundreds of medical negligence solicitors under one roof.

Overconfidence is defined as the prediction of the probability of occurrence of dangerous consequences produced by action or inaction, coupled with their frivolous expectation of prevention the damaging effects.

In medical practice there are such concepts as ‘medical risk’ and ‘risk in medicine’. The concept of ‘risk’ is clearly defined by the existing laws. The criminal law distinguishes between justified, legitimate risk and unlawful, unnecessary risk. The risk is legitimate and necessary when a potentially unsafe action is taken to achieve a reasonable purpose. One of the conditions to achieve a useful purpose can be a situation where the onset of harmful consequences must be a possibility, not the inevitable result of risky actions. Thus, the risks of undesired complications during surgery are possible, but not inevitable.