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MEDICAL MALPRACTICE/NEGLIGENCE IN UGANDA. CURRENT TRENDS AND SOLUTIONS BY JUSTICE GEOFFREY KIRYABWIRE.

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Presentation on theme: "MEDICAL MALPRACTICE/NEGLIGENCE IN UGANDA. CURRENT TRENDS AND SOLUTIONS BY JUSTICE GEOFFREY KIRYABWIRE."— Presentation transcript:

1 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE/NEGLIGENCE IN UGANDA. CURRENT TRENDS AND SOLUTIONS BY JUSTICE GEOFFREY KIRYABWIRE

2 INTRODUCTION Increasing stories of medical malpractice in local pressIncreasing stories of medical malpractice in local press Alleged victims of malpractice increasingly resorting to legal remediesAlleged victims of malpractice increasingly resorting to legal remedies Medical and legal fraternity on verge of new experiences in the area of medical malpracticeMedical and legal fraternity on verge of new experiences in the area of medical malpractice

3 Defining medical negligence Negligence is a legal not medical termNegligence is a legal not medical term Medical worker meansMedical worker means “…a health professional, administrative, scientific and support staff employed in the health service” (The code of Conduct and Ethics) Negligence is a Tort i.e. a civil as opposed to a criminal wrong

4 Defining medical negligence Ingredients of a tort 1. 1.There must exist a recognised legal duty of care 2. 2.There must have a breach of that duty of care 3. 3.The breach of duty must occasioned loss, damage or injury 4. 4.The loss, damage or injury was the direct or proximate cause of the breach of duty.

5 Duty of care Equal to the level of a reasonable and competent health workerEqual to the level of a reasonable and competent health worker To show from deviation of duty one must proveTo show from deviation of duty one must prove 1.A usual and normal practice 2.That a health worker has not adopted that practice 3.That the health worker instead adopted a practice that no professional of ordinary skill would have taken.

6 Duty of care Final decision as to breach of duty lies with court and not the medical professionalFinal decision as to breach of duty lies with court and not the medical professional Uganda Code of conduct and ethics provides Uganda Code of conduct and ethics provides “ As a standard of behaviour and discipline for all health workers, it deserves the attention of every one to familiarise with it and adhere to the standards required of the service Hippocratic oath do all medical workers take it?Hippocratic oath do all medical workers take it?

7 Loss, injury or damage Breach of duty must have been the direct or proximate cause of the loss, injury or damageBreach of duty must have been the direct or proximate cause of the loss, injury or damage By proximate is meantBy proximate is meant “…a cause which, in a natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any intervening event produces injury and without which injury would not have occurred”

8 Loss, injury or damage Generally he who alleges a malpractice must prove it.Generally he who alleges a malpractice must prove it. Exception:- The Principle of RES IPSA LOQUITORException:- The Principle of RES IPSA LOQUITOR “The facts speak for themselves” “The facts speak for themselves”

9 Loss, injury or damage Legal compensation for Loss, injury or damage comes in the form ofLegal compensation for Loss, injury or damage comes in the form of “monetary damages” “monetary damages” not suspension or deregistration of the medical worker. not suspension or deregistration of the medical worker.

10 Trends in the UK Legal standards set in the UK courts are of persuasive authority to Ugandan courtsLegal standards set in the UK courts are of persuasive authority to Ugandan courts Standard since 1838 in UK isStandard since 1838 in UK is “… a fair, reasonable and competent degree of skill…” Not the highest degree of skill

11 Trends in the UK Institutional Vs. individual liabilityInstitutional Vs. individual liability Principle of vicarious liability – “institutions are liable for the clear negligence of their staff” It does not matter whether the institution provides a free or a paid service

12 Trends in the UK Medical misadventure does not amount to negligenceMedical misadventure does not amount to negligence Duty to be availableDuty to be available Emotional negligence ?Emotional negligence ?

13 Trends in the USA In 2002 there were 18,999 medical malpractice payments in the USAIn 2002 there were 18,999 medical malpractice payments in the USA 27% (i.e. a little under 1/3) of the patients who sued won their cases.27% (i.e. a little under 1/3) of the patients who sued won their cases.

14 Trends in Uganda Questions as to informed consentQuestions as to informed consent Application of the principle of Res ipsa loquitur – a question of level of complication of procedure?Application of the principle of Res ipsa loquitur – a question of level of complication of procedure? Cases against nursesCases against nurses Bulk of medical malpractice cases directed against Government not the medical workers.Bulk of medical malpractice cases directed against Government not the medical workers.

15 Changing trends in Uganda 1.Growing awareness of patient rights 2.Unqualified personnel/impersonators 3.Growing number of private clinics and health centres

16 Emerging global trends Human rights and public interest litigation in medicineHuman rights and public interest litigation in medicine The right to health as an emerging human right?The right to health as an emerging human right?

17 The way forward & possible solutions 1.The creation of objective and well established standards of practice that are enforced as a means of self regulation 2.Defensive medicine? Litigation + worried doctor = Defensive medicine

18 The way forward & possible solutions 3.The use of professional indemnity insurance and the establishment of medical defence unions 4.Good Samaritan legislation for medical emergencies?

19 Conclusion Cases of medical negligence in Uganda are likely to increase in light of the changing trends in the country. There is now greater patient right awareness. There is need to enforce medical standards as means of avoiding an escalation of these case. Time has also come to protect medical workers from such situation with some form of indemnity insurance.

20 END THANK YOU FOR LISTENING TO ME


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