Michael Twaits, medical negligence expert, on clinical errors and negligence cases

doctor patientAlmost every patient seeking for help in a medical institution experiences mixed feelings. On the one hand – it is a deep sense of faith in the power of modern medicine, high level of responsibility and expertise of the attending physician. On the other hand – personal experience, a mixture of insecurity and fear about the result of medical care and doubts regarding a quick, painless recovery. Barksman & Co representative, the firm specialising in medical negligence and represented at medical negligence solicitors category, has sent Michael Twaits to give practical comments and share his point of view (as it turned out, with a grain of philosophy).

‘With more than 20 years of experience in the medical and administrative circles I can say that there is no reason to believe that you’ll get a 100% guarantee of quality in healthcare services, and selfsame, there is no reason to lose faith in medicine – even in today’s challenging environment a professional can accurately correct diagnosis and prescribe effective, successful treatment’ says Twaits. It should be noted those who pays for health services directly to the doctor (institution, clinic, etc.), oftentimes think they get an extra protection from medical errors, but the origins of the medical services provision, as a rule, are beyond the commodity-money relations. At the same time, provision of medical services differs in a certain extent from the provision of services in other social sectors.

medical servicesMedical service represents a service of special properties. Accordingly, the language and the principles of a consumer approach to it must be applied with some reservations. Consumers of health services, however, as well as those who produce it, often very roughly represent appropriate value. This applies, of course, to the values of health, but, first of all – to the values of acquired interventions. In this regard, things have started changing since the eighties of the twentieth century with the formation of the principles of ‘evidence-based medicine’, but so far a lot of interventions remain in medical practice, the relative and the absolute value of which is still unknown, and sometimes questionable.

Today, reducing the number of errors in the provision of medical services should be carried out through innovations, development of modern standards of diagnosis and treatment of diseases, based on the principles of ‘evidence-based medicine’. Innovative projects require significant capital investment. However, the economy of the industry is far from optimistic estimates – the business and pharmaceuticals industry are stagnating, new things that we see on the shelves are largely the products of polishing of existing products. Can we wait until the state, regional authorities to allocate funds for these processes? This is not likely to happen in the sufficient extent. So until we don’t make a significant progress in innovative approaches integration, minimising human factor and increasing the role of preventive treatment, clinical negligence will remain to be an issue balancing within a few percent of cases in developed economies and reach some 10 – 12% mark in developing countries.