Today we discuss a myriad of issues related to medical malpractice issues within the United States. But what’s happening with medical malpractice in other countries? How do their legal issues and their understanding of the responsibility of physicians differ from our own? Let’s look at a few.
Medical Malpractice in China
While cases in the U.S. are handled in civil courts, and thus result in lawsuits, in China, medical malpractice is treated as a criminal offense. According to Chinese criminal law, any act that we would call medical malpractice—a malpractice event that resulted in the injury or death of the patient—is subject to the imprisonment of the wrongful party. However, the maximum term of imprisonment for such a crime is just three years.
Recently, the internet went into a tirade after China Judgment Online announced that a doctor that had, through negligence, spread HIV to 5 patients, only received a verdict of 2.5 years imprisonment. This is especially curious when you consider that cheating on college exams can result in up to 7 years of imprisonment.
Medical Malpractice in Canada
Though similarities exist between malpractice law in the U.S. and in Canada, Canada’s unique federal healthcare system makes malpractice procedure a little different. Canadian malpractice cases go through the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), which constitutes Canada’s federal healthcare system.
Because of this, the bulk of malpractice suits involve healthcare systems run by the CMPA (there are private practices, but they are less common). Physicians who work for CMPAs healthcare systems have recourse to the state-funded legal defense fund, which is terrific for physicians. This means state funding can keep premiums radically low for the type of insurance American doctors have to fund at huge premiums. But this can be unfair for patients seeking restitution, since they would not have such access to a well-funded defense team.
Medical Malpractice in Australia
A remarkable thing about Australian medical malpractice (which is referred to as medical negligence there, or med neg) is the way that fees are handled during the litigation process. While litigation is still ongoing, plaintiffs do not have to pay any fees until a settlement has been made in the case. That means a case has a much better chance of being heard in full, since plaintiffs won’t be overwhelmed with court fees in the meantime.
Also, Australia has a firm No Win, No Pay law which states that lawyers on the losing end of a lawsuit do not receive payment. This incentivizes greater scrutiny of malpractice cases before they go to trial, since lawyers have little incentive to get involved with claims that are backed with little to no objective support.
Medical Malpractice in Saudi Arabia
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the legal system is based on Muslim Shari’a law, medical malpractice cases are reviewed by the Sharia Medical Panel (SMP). If citizens wish to dispute the ruling of the SMP, they can appeal to the Board of Grievances, but the appeal can go no higher.
Because of its origin in Shari’a Law, besides differentiating awards for cases leading to injury vs. those leading to death, payouts for malpractice cases are also differentiated based on religion and gender. A male Muslim can receive a payout up to double what a female Muslim can receive, and up to 4 times what a non-Muslim can receive. If that male Muslim is on a pilgrimage during his malpractice event, his eligible payout is doubled.
A myriad of factors changes the face of malpractice law from country-to-country. Our own emphasis in the United States on private ownership and responsibility has made malpractice the jurisdiction of civil courts and private insurance. Because of this, malpractice suits can get pricey and complicated. Let eQuote simplify it by giving you a free quote today.