In recent times, there has been concerning rise of cases where patients have accused doctors even at prominent hospitals of medical malpractices. With evidence in place, courts can determine which of the two (2) parties is liable. Some cases could be evidently a real medical malpractice case whilst others could be an excuse for a patient to make some quick cash.
Firstly, let us understand what medical malpractice is?
According to Wikipedia, “Medical malpractice is a legal cause of action that occurs when a medical or health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, deviates from standards in their profession, thereby causing injury to a patient. The negligence might arise from errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management.”
“Medical Malpractice Insurance is the professional indemnity cover for health care providers/ medical professionals to protect a physician or health care institution from the financial risks, the liability, of practicing medicine.”, explained Phenyo Mokgojwe, Senior Portfolio Manager at Old Mutual Short-Term Insurance. More specifically, it protects the physician from the consequences of a patient’s claim that he/she was injured as a result of the physician’s negligence.
Medical Malpractice law provides a way for patients to recover compensation from any harms resulting from sub-standard treatment. The standards and regulations for medical malpractice differ slightly from country to country, even within some countries, jurisdictions may have varying medical malpractice laws
Examples of Medmal errors:
- Giving the patient the wrong dose
- Giving the patient the wrong medication
- Leaving things inside the patient’s body after surgery
- Operating the wrong part of the body
- Persistent back pain after surgery
- Potentially fatal staph infections
- Pressure ulcers (bedsores).
Most insurance companies do not cover the following under the medical malpractice policy; intentional harm to patient by the medical professionals, punitive damages, sexual misconduct, maternity risk, prior claims or known circumstances, criminal acts etc.
As humans we understand that mistakes do happen, however negligence in the operation table is something to be taken seriously and to be avoided by all costs. Secondly it is important to also be prepared in cases where fraudulent claims may be brought forward against you. ALWAYS ACT WITH INTERGRITY!
Written by Phenyo Mokgojwe, Senior Portfolio Manager at Old Mutual Short-Term Insurance Botswana