There was a time when bad news was broken to a patient by Doctors, the patient and their family members would accept the news as the will of God and never question or second guess the Doctor/s nor the establishment which treated him/her. The news, no matter how bad it was, taken as the very last result that was delivered to the patient and their family members after the attending Doctors and institution has exhausted all his best effort and capabilities to save the patient yet patient was far too ill to be brought back from his deathbed. Family members would recognize this and accept the saddening truth and live their life with the burden of death of their family members forever tattooed to their souls yet still being thankful to the Doctors which tried their very best to save their family members.
The bitter truth is that, In the era where the patient or family members come to a Doctor/institution already having gathered information of himself or his family member’s condition from a myriad of sources including “Doctor Net”, the Doctors decision is seen as just another opinion rather then the life changing judgement as what is was seen in the older days. The Doctor’s decision, despite having the greatest credentials and reliability, is often seen with an eye full of doubt and skepticism. “Is this Doctor telling me the truth, is this Doctor knows what he/she is doing, is this institution giving me the best treatment and service that I am entitled to”?
All these questions will keep playing in the minds of the patient and the family members every time an unpleasant news is delivered to them. All these doubts had given rise to a substantial number of lawsuits that has been on an uncontrollable rise in our shores lately. Take for example the case where a Cardiothoracic surgeon from Serdang Hospital was sued when the patient had to lose her left breast after having suffered post-surgical infection. (MIMS TODAY, by Vi-Jean Khoo, 24 Apr 2017) The patient, (name kept anonymous), underwent a bypass surgery on the 16th of February 2016 in Hospital Serdang, was successfully operated on and discharged 9 days after without any complications. Patient once at home, noted there was gapping of the wound and sought after further advise from the surgeon who operated on her. Mentioning that the gapping was normal for the weight of the breast, the patient claims that the Surgeon did not offer any advise nor explanation on how the weight of her breast, her diabetic status nor her general health condition may affect the condition of her wound. To add to the issue, the patient further scrutinized that no antibiotic cover was initiated to tackle this issue. After seeking second opinion in a nearby General Practitioner, the patient was referred to the Surgeon where Vacuum Assisted Dressing was applied to little use. Eventually the patient had to undergo a surgery to remove the entire left breast to stop the infection from spreading. The patient sued the doctor and institution for 20million with an additional RM223,486 in special and other reliefs deemed fit by the court due to emotion and physical distress.
Another such case, a businessman who sued a private hospital and the medical practitioner for Rm300,000 after the death of his wife that was hospitalized for dengue fever (Ref, The Star Online Saturday 8th of December 2018-article, by Nelson Benjamin) The 67 year old Chinese male (name kept anonymous) claims that although this will not bring back his wife (name kept anonymous) aged 55 that passed away on June 16, 2014 in a private hospital, he hopes it will create an awareness among the healthcare workers and make them take their job more seriously. Are the Doctors not taking their job seriously now?
With such issues on the constant rise, there is an unavoidable need for medical practitioners to safeguard themselves, to have a safety net that will umbrella them in the not so remote case of a medical lawsuit that comes knocking on their front door. In reality, it is not medical practitioners performing negligence or malpractice, it’s the fact that certain progression of disease might be so unpredictable that it may take a turn for the worse and show no obvious presentation if not absolutely no signs at all in the early stages. To add to this dilemma, there is no Doctors that will be able to predict accurately, how the body of a patient will react and respond to a certain disease and react to the drugs used to counter it. Despite our best efforts and knowledge, there are still patients that are unable to be saved despite being given the best mind and medical care. This is the bitter truth that society fails to digest. Having said so, do u think doctors have a need for medical indemnity insurance? The answer, despite conflicting opinions is staring right in front of your faces. The question is, are you willing to accept the answer?
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– Dr Jai Ganesh