Medical Malpractice in the US and Other Countries

Experts will tell you that medical malpractice occurs when medical personnel or health care providers do not follow the recognized professional standards of the practice in the delivery of their service. It is true that different situations arise in medical emergencies which are not covered by the accepted standards or regulations. However, negligence or malpractice is recorded when a medical practitioner does not follow the same or similar protocol in which a reasonable and prudent professional colleague would have followed being in the same or similar situation, according to the Frank Jenkins Law Office. Medical malpractice usually results in serious injury or death for these patients.

Medical Malpractice in the US

In the United States, the Journal of the American Medical Association labels it as the third leading cause of mortality in the United States after heart disease and cancer. Healthcare in the U.S. is constantly constrained by the issue of medical malpractice. This has led to the formation of several laws and rulings to curtail those malpractices. Over $3 billion is spent yearly on payouts for medical malpractice claims with a frequency of about 1 payout every 43 minutes. Medical malpractice payouts as a punitive measure have been embraced as a tool to curbing the crime, though some people still believe that the U.S. should be doing more to fight medical malpractice. Below are some examples of the medical malpractice protocols in the Philippines, UK, and Canada. While there are some similarities, some interesting contrasts exist.

Medical Malpractice in the Philippines

In the Philippines, medical malpractice attracts very high punitive awards. In this way it is very similar to what is found in the US. However, the Filipino government, through the Department of Health, goes another step further to fine doctors and medical practitioners found guilty. Medical malpractice, according to results from the Philippine Medical Association Medical Malpractice Workshop, occurs in only 0.00003% of medical patients. This is radically lower than in the U.S.

Medical Malpractice in the UK

In the UK a large portion of the healthcare sector is channeled through a particular agency. This agency is called the National Health Service. The agency is responsible, among many other things, to handle legislation and litigation on the behalf of all doctors resident under this service. The service is restricted to only doctors registered under this brief. In the event of a medical malpractice charge, rather than be charged to court, the National Human Service bears the cost of the litigation, employs the necessary lawyer(s) and even when the case is not successful, pays out the victim or victim’s family. It should be noted that there doctors, dentists, etc. that are not registered with the NHS. These doctors do not fall under the beneficial indemnity clause that the NHS holds. This is very unlike the American system where any doctor or medical care professional can be sued for medical malpractice irrespective of status, color, or creed. The justice system in America does not allow anyone to hide under the law.

Medical malpractice in Canada

In Canada, just like in the UK, over 91,000 doctors are covered by the Canadian Medical Protective Association. This association offers both advice and legal counsel to the medical practitioners in cases of malpractice. Unlike most of such associations, the CMPA is usually keen to pursue litigation against plaintiffs if they feel the case can be won. Another interesting thing about medical malpractice in Canada is that the loser of the case usually pays a portion of the winner’s legal costs, asides from punitive damages awarded by the court. This rule has been applauded as it serves to reduce the occurrence of unnecessary lawsuits.

In Summation

Many factors are responsible for the differences in medical malpractice judgment found outside this country. This is largely due to the differences in conditions that these countries endure. However one thing is certain, medical malpractice needs to be stopped. Irrespective of whatever country you belong to, medical malpractice is important to the health and wellbeing of every nation.