Medical Malpractice Liability

Twins sue hospital for mix-up


China: A pair of twins has sued a hospital over an apparent mix-up when they were babies 21 years ago; they are suing for compensation of HKD1.2m (USD153,927) and an apology. They were reunited by chance when mutual friends were struck by their similar appearance. The two families lived in the same semi-rural district of Beijing.


Source: Reuters News, 19 August 2007

Asian Casualty Report 10th Edition June 2008 – Gen Re


Hospital sued over tainted medicine


China: Families of patients killed by a fraudulent medical ingredient-maker in April and May 2006 have sued the southern Chinese hospital that gave the toxic injections. They demand more than HKD20.45m (USD2.6m) in total compensation after the hospital gave injections of fake Armillarisni A, made by the Qiqihar No 2 Pharmaceutical based in the country’s northeast.


The Qiqihar company used a take syrup supplied by a manufacturer in the eastern province of Jiangsu – the same supplier whose toxic ingredients killed at least 100 people and possibly many more in Panama. Sixty-four patients received the fake Armillarisni A, including 13 whose deaths were “strongly associated” with the infections. The final death count is unclear since some people who took the medicine may have died in less populated areas.


Sources: The New York Times, 6 May 2007; Reuters, 29 May 2007

Asian Casualty Report 10th Edition June 2008 – Gen Re


Patients set to bear the brunt of rising cast of insurance


Hong Kong: The Medical Protection Society, which offers professional indemnity insurance to most doctors, expects that insurance subscription rates next year will increase from 3 to 30%.


The biggest rise – about 30% – will hit the private sector: obstetricians and doctors in high-risk specialties such as neurosurgery and spinal surgery. The society said the increase for next year was due to an increase in claims by an average 20%. The largest claim paid last year was HKD27m (USD3,463,359). There were also a number of large claims awaiting settlement, including one estimated at HKD45m (USD5,772,265).


The president of the Medical Association predicted that private doctors will pass on some of the higher costs due to their soaring professional indemnity insurance costs as well as due to increasing rents for their clinics and inflation.


A Medical Association council member said that it was natural for the number of disputes and claims to increase because of a global trend of higher awareness of patients’ rights. In consequence, some specialists in obstetrics and gynecology might consider only practising gynecological treatments and stopping their delivery services.


Source: South China Morning Post, 19 October 2007

Asian Casualty Report 10th Edition June 2008 – Gen Re


Fewer suits filed against public hospitals


Singapore: Yearly figures concerning suits against public hospitals fell from 15 cases a year between 1997 and 2000 to 11.2 cases in recent years. Due to the National Healthcare Group (NHG) chief, the reason for the reduction is better communication between doctors and patients as well as better care. Studies have shown that patients often make claims or file suits as a result of being poorly informed about their treatment process or options. The real cause of litigation, therefore, is poor communication. Being aware of the importance of a good doctor-patient communication, the Health Ministry started a medical mediation scheme to tackle disputes at lower costs.


While litigation figures have fallen, the amount of damages awarded has been going up. The biggest payout from a medical suit in Singapore was USD2m, paid in 2006.


Source: Straits Times, 20 October 2007

Asian Casualty Report 10th Edition June 2008 – Gen Re


Draft of new law on compensation far victims of medical malpractice


Thailand: The Public Health Ministry has drafted a new law on compensation for victims of medical malpractice. It focuses on offering a fair amount of compensation for the damage a patient has suffered due to medical malpractice and on reducing legal disputes between victims and medical professionals.


More than 2,800 complaints were submitted to the Medical Council between 1990 and 2006, largely about alleged substandard medical practices and exaggerated medical service advertisements. Between 2005 and 2006, about THB36.Sm (USD1.1 m) in total was paid to 443 victims of medical malpractice.


The draft legislation, however, drew criticism from civic groups and some health law experts. They said its content was “too vague” and appeared to give medical practitioners additional immunity from criminal lawsuits. For example, they cited Article 44 which stipulates that healthcare providers shall be protected from criminal charges over their medical practices unless they intentionally cause damage to patients.


Source: Bangkok Post, .Z4 April 2007

Asian Casualty Report 10th Edition June 2008 – Gen Re

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