Presentation on theme: "MEDICAL MALPRACTICE/NEGLIGENCE IN UGANDA. CURRENT TRENDS AND SOLUTIONS"— 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 press Alleged victims of malpractice increasingly resorting to legal remediesMedical and legal fraternity on verge of new experiences in the area of medical malpractice
3 Defining medical negligence Negligence is a legal not medical termMedical 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 tortThere must exist a recognised legal duty of careThere must have a breach of that duty of careThe breach of duty must occasioned loss, damage or injuryThe loss, damage or injury was the direct or proximate cause of the breach of duty.
5 Duty of careEqual to the level of a reasonable and competent health workerTo show from deviation of duty one must proveA usual and normal practiceThat a health worker has not adopted that practiceThat the health worker instead adopted a practice that no professional of ordinary skill would have taken.
6 Duty of careFinal decision as to breach of duty lies with court and not the medical professionalUganda 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 serviceHippocratic oath do all medical workers take it?
7 Loss, injury or damageBreach of duty must have been the direct or proximate cause of the loss, injury or damageBy 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 damageGenerally he who alleges a malpractice must prove it.Exception:- The Principle of RES IPSA LOQUITOR“The facts speak for themselves”
9 Loss, injury or damageLegal compensation for Loss, injury or damage comes in the form of“monetary damages”not suspension or deregistration of the medical worker.
10 Trends in the UKLegal standards set in the UK courts are of persuasive authority to Ugandan courtsStandard 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 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 negligence Duty to be availableEmotional negligence ?
13 Trends in the USAIn 2002 there were 18,999 medical malpractice payments in the USA27% (i.e. a little under 1/3) of the patients who sued won their cases.
14 Trends in Uganda Questions as to informed consent Application of the principle of Res ipsa loquitur – a question of level of complication of procedure?Cases against nursesBulk of medical malpractice cases directed against Government not the medical workers.
15 Changing trends in Uganda Growing awareness of patient rightsUnqualified personnel/impersonatorsGrowing number of private clinics and health centres
16 Emerging global trends Human rights and public interest litigation in medicineThe right to health as an emerging human right?
17 The way forward & possible solutions The creation of objective and well established standards of practice that are enforced as a means of self regulationDefensive medicine?Litigation + worried doctor = Defensive medicine
18 The way forward & possible solutions The use of professional indemnity insurance and the establishment of medical defence unionsGood Samaritan legislation for medical emergencies?
19 ConclusionCases 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 THANK YOU FOR LISTENING TO ME ENDTHANK YOU FOR LISTENING TO ME