Dr Luke Gordon is a professional in medical malpractice mediation
Today he sits down with Chris Morris from the group “Picker World” and talks about medical malpractice mediation.
“Medical Malpractice Mediation is a vastly underutilized platform for resolving legal disputes,” says Dr Gordon
Dr Gordon accomplished his certification in malpractice mediation in 2016 because of the prevalence of malpractice regulation suites in South Africa.
“I finally felt like this was an ideal opportunity to make a positive contribution to resolving the massive number of medical malpractice cases in South Africa,” says Gordon
“ The emphasis on the legal system in South Africa is focused mainly on the application of the law and obtaining Justice is not necessarily the prime aim.” says Dr Gordon.
“ A major challenge that doctors face in South Africa is that of protecting themselves against litigation and this is particularly prevalent with obstetricians who have to pay an exorbitant sum in litigation cover. As a result of this, many obstetricians are opting out of doing deliveries because they can be liable for any potential birth injuries that a child may incur up to the age of them becoming a major at 18 years” added Dr Gordon
This dilemma can also be notably highlighted in State hospitals the place the potential price of litigation is de facto lined by the taxpayer.
The Gauteng Department of Health is at present going through in extra of R 2.5 billion and the most important downside with that is that the funds earmarked for infrastructure and salaries will then be diverted to settling huge authorized claims and thus it’s a vicious cycle in that the infrastructure is deteriorating and the State cannot afford to pay salaries and this turns into a major goal for Attorneys representing aggrieved sufferers.
The downside is exacerbated by the truth that the normal money cows of the authorized occupation a few years in the past akin to conveyancing and highway accident fund claims have all however dried up and this has pushed the authorized occupation to purpose for so-called “ soft targets” that are docs carrying malpractice insurance coverage.
This in flip has resulted in docs that a few years in the past would follow within the spirit of altruism are actually compelled to follow defensively Dr Gordon added.
In the USA alone, it’s estimated that 95% of orthopaedic surgeons follow defensive medication and in 2012 this was estimated to end in an extra $ 48 billion to the well being price range.
Dr Johan Walters of the division of Orthopaedic Surgery in Cape Town wrote in an article that the majority of the cash goes to authorized groups and that many of those issues can take years and end in a cumbersome system. Another potential draw back of the present system is that the plaintiff will solely obtain an award within the occasion of confirmed medical malpractice in opposition to the physician however will not be compensated when an unavoidable or inherent error has occurred. In the Instance of mediation, this is able to not be the case. Dr Walters added that there was an rising consciousness that not each error or complication is avoidable. Medicine shouldn’t be a precise science and infrequently there are circumstances which are sometimes past the management of the physician.
The greatest downside which ends up in complaints in opposition to docs and nurses or hospitals are people who happen because of miscommunication. Mediation is ideally suited in the direction of these conditions.
The price of mediation is just a fraction of that of litigation in respect of time, emotional toll and cash. This would end in a big saving of prices to the healthcare system and medical malpractice premiums could be decreased by quite a bit.
At the second, the UK, Canada and the USA have begun utilizing mediation to resolve medical disputes and that is truly Incorporated within the courts in states akin to Florida.
“ The Healthcare system and healthcare personnel are currently under Siege and in deep trouble”says Dr Gordon.
The main impediment that needs to be overcome is to persuade the general public and the authorized occupation to undertake this type of different dispute decision (ADR).