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RISKS FACED BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS IN MODERN TIMES

Recently, In Bengaluru, a consumer disputes redressal commission asked the three doctors of Fortis Hospital to pay a whopping compensation amounting to Rs. 23.50 lakhs to a family of a woman who died due to the negligence of the doctors. (Read: In Bengaluru, Fortis Docs Fined Rs. 23.5 Lakh After Patient DiesNDTV News)

As per the family, a slip disc surgery was conducted on a woman in 2010. Despite pre-operation reports explicitly mentioned of having a cardiac risk, the operation was still performed in the hospital that even lacked a specialized cardiac unit.

Her husband was told that she was doing fine after the surgery, but her condition deteriorated hours later when she developed some cardiac issues. Even, the hospital did not have a pacemaker to install, and it was too late to shift her to a different hospital.

Similarly, in another instance, a Delhi-based hospital had to pay a compensation of Rs. 8 lakhs to the widow of a patient as directed by the consumer court. The hospital was charged with the negligence of discharging the teacher from the hospital despite him being far from fit, and he dies soon after being released.

While the first case establishes the clear guilt of the medical staff and the hospital, cases of the second category are far more numerous, and at times lead to a significant financial liability.

medical-negligence

Increasing Number of Litigations Due to Medical Negligence

These are just two of the instances from the various such similar cases being filed every year. According to a report in leading newspaper, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of cases being deposited in the Consumer courts about medical negligence and malpractices in the recent years. Some states have seen a rise of as high of 50 times in medical negligence cases in a short span of just 5 years.

Also, as per a study conducted by National Law School of India University, Bengaluru in 2015, the cases filed about medical negligence have gone up by 400% in the last 10 years. That is significantly a huge increase.

The rising consumer awareness and consumer friendly forums or courts are the reasons behind such a significant increase in the cases of people taking hospitals and doctors to court for negligence or malpractices. The people are becoming more aware of their rights and duties. Also, with the ease of filing a case with consumer forums have made people ready to fight for any malpractices or deficiency in the services. Also, in most of the cases, the doctors and hospitals are being fined and asked to pay a compensation amount.

But, are the Doctors Always Negligent?

The consumers these days are far more aware of their rights and usually end up filing cases against the medical professionals if they feel that the professionals did not consider all possibilities or factors in treatment.

But, as the numbers suggest of all the cases filed against doctors, they have been found guilty in only 10 to 15% of cases, and most of the times they just end up paying the cost of defending themselves.

As is said, “Being human is to err,” everyone can commit a mistake, but the doctor’s mistake can have a huge implication on someone’s life. Therefore, a medical professional should protect themselves from such claims and legal costs of defense with the help of insurance.

What’s Next?

The constant fear of being caught in medical negligence and frivolous charges being imposed by family and relatives has made is essential for the doctors to own a professional indemnity insurance. This insurance cover provides protection against the risk of compensation is any case of negligence or malpractice is filed against the doctor. Also, the insurance policy also covers the cost of defending themselves.

It provides coverages for the claims arising out bodily injury or death of the patient that can have been caused due to the omission, error, and negligence of the medical practitioner while rendering professional services. Most of the policies protect medical establishments and its staff that includes doctors, consulting doctors, nurses, management and even the unqualified staff like peon and sweepers. However, the policy does not provide coverage in case of any liability arising out of willful negligence or criminal activity.

But, in a case of professional indemnity insurance, the sum insured is quantifiable which is also known as the “limit of liability.” If you buy a building insurance, then sum insured is equal to the net worth of the property both in this case the claim amount cannot be estimated. Therefore, the insured person determines the amount of sum insured and any loss beyond that needs to be borne by the doctor himself.

How to Buy?

Buying such insurance would be a lot easier when modern online insurance advisors like SecureNow are assisting you. They not only provide you with multiple quotes and help in comparing these plans, but they will also assist you in managing the policy and filing claims.

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