Compensation likely for medical negligence victims

ABU DHABI — The federal medical liability draft law defining negligence, malpractices and misconduct of the healthcare sector was recently forwarded to the cabinet and it is likely to be enforced during the coming few months after its approval, according to an official source at the Ministry of Justice.

By Adel Arafah

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Published: Wed 6 Aug 2008, 1:59 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:00 PM

The draft law, the source pointed out, stipulates appropriate compensation for victims who suffer due to any medical negligence and mistakes by doctors. The hospitals in the country will be obliged to ensure the services of the doctors so that the victims of medical negligence are entitled to compensation instantaneously.

The draft law accurately specifies kinds of medical accountability and suitable penalties against wrongdoers and health institutions found negligent, said the source, adding the draft law ensures that patients could get their full rights in case they are exposed to any medical mistakes and also guarantees the confidentiality of patients' records.

The medical error law is extremely important for both doctors and patients as it ensures the two parties providing and receiving medical services safely and without fear, Dr Emad Abbood, Head of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at Al Noor Hospital, told Khaleej Times.

Elaborating, he said, some physicians might refrain from performing a certain operation lest they fail and are forced to pay huge amounts as compensation.

Therefore, insurance in advanced countries like the UK and the US is necessary and costs too much, he said.

He said that most of medical errors were made either in surgeries or delivery operations, where the baby might be born with paralysed arm, or die.

Therefore, insurance on these operations is the costliest, as it ranges between $60,000 and $70,000 in the US. This explains why most of the doctors choose to specialise in less risky areas of medicine.

He said the new law will be beneficial for the healthcare sector.

“I had filed a lawsuit against a doctor for causing my father to become half-paralysed due to a medicine he had prescribed to him by mistake,” Mohammed Hafez, an expatriate said.

Three years have passed, but no final court verdict was issued, because there was no law on medical errors to ensure the rights of patients.

Everyone is in need of this law, which ensures hiring of competent doctors as insurance companies will not insure the doctor who commits many mistakes, Alia Badri, a government employee, said.

"I believe that the law would count the number of mistakes the doctor might commit, and if the errors exceed the set limits, his/her name will be struck off from the doctors’ record," she said.

"This means that we will be well looked after by expert and efficient doctors," she said.

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