Shine A Light

Shine A Light: Medical Negligence – Who Should Pay?

Cases of medical negligence often emerge when patients go under the knife. But there are other cases like the December 7, 2020 High Court ruling in Lautoka.
02 Jan 2021 09:46
Shine A Light: Medical Negligence – Who Should Pay?
Suva’s Colonial War Memorial Hospital. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Who should compensate for medical negligence? For those in private practice, the answer is clear – they are responsible. However, the same cannot be said for public health and medical doctors. Government pays for damages awarded by the courts.

But in recent times, some have suggested those in the health public system themselves should be held responsible. The burden, they say, should not be entirely placed on the Government.

Cases of medical negligence often emerge when patients go under the knife. But there are other cases like the December 7, 2020 High Court ruling in Lautoka.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services was ordered to pay $168,260 for the death of a child in 2015. The infant’s tongue was pierced with a stick. Upon taking the infant to the Ba Health Centre, the infant’s father, Viliame Tiko, was advised by a staff nurse to take the child home and wash the injury with warm salt water.

According to Mr Tiko, the nurse did not follow proper outpatient procedure. She failed to refer the infant to a doctor at the first instance, which led to the infection of the injury and the deterioration of the infant’s injury.

After two days, the infant was transferred to the Lautoka Hospital for surgery but later died.

Medical practitioners owe a duty of care to their patients. For those in the public system, it can be challenging.

While it should never be used as an excuse, public health practitioners are often under a lot of pressure. They attend to more people whenever they are on call. Along with this, they can face longer working hours.

Bureaucracy can also hinder efficiency within the system. ….. to read the full story, subscribe to our e-edition. You can also pay through Vodafone’s MPAISA platform.

Feedbackivamere.nataro@fijisun.com.fj

 



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