According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 138 million patients are harmed on an annual basis as a result of medical negligence. The negligence of medical practitioners such as doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other medical professionals are causing serious injuries, even death at times. There are different types of medical malpractice including but not limited to:
- improper treatment;
- surgical errors;
- medication mistakes;
- pharmacy errors;
- birth injury (errors committed during the delivery of a child); and
- failure to diagnose cancer or other serious health conditions.
It was 17 September in 2019 that the first World Patient Safety Day was launched, specifically in response to the growing concern of medical negligence in different parts of the world.
The objective of the campaign is to raise awareness of the scale of the problem when it comes to medical negligence. WHO’s patient-safety coordinator, Dr Neelam Dhingra-Kumar, blames the occurrence of medical negligence to lack of a clear hierarchy in certain hospitals or insufficient communication among the workers. Other factors that were cited also include:
- a severe lack of resources in many hospitals; and
- a failure to deal with errors and learn from them, particularly as a result of trying to hide errors.
As is the case with most types of personal injury compensation cases, there can be a stigma around medical negligence claims. Many people who suffer an injury or the worsening of a condition as a result of a clinical error will consider that the hospital staff were trying their best and that you take your chances when it comes to medical treatment.
The difficulty is that many of those people will end up paying for those errors in some form or other, such as:
- Their career opportunities could be affected.
- They may find themselves paying to make adjustments to their home or in other areas of their life.
Although in the case of death as a result of medical negligence:
- Other family members may suffer financially as a result of a loss of earnings coming into the household; or
- The death of someone who provided care for children or others can result in the need for alternative arrangements to be made at a cost.
Medical negligence compensation is never a windfall for a victim. At best. it tries to put them in a position where they are not at a financial disadvantage as a result of the errors made in their treatment and care.
Find out more about world patient safety day here.