Medical errors from opposite sides of the barricades

doctor patient relationshipKnowingly and voluntarily entrusting health and life, the most expensive things people have, to doctors, patients are quite entitled to expect a sincere desire to help of doctor to get rid of suffering through his professional skills and knowledge and high moral character traits. Being aware of the unity of the human body as a highly complex biological systems a proven professional is aiming at eliminating functional and organic disorders of organs and systems. The nature of relations between the physician and the patient in modern society is regulated not only by the principles of ethics and deontology, but also subjected to certain standards described in the essential documents (e.g. civil or criminal code). In this situation, it is important to distinguish the concept of ‘professional error’ from the concept of ‘professional misconduct’ in health workers. The tricky cases that contribute to thousands of lethal outcomes in the UK has given birth to a legal area – according to medical negligence solicitors industry experts, the niche has increased in its size by 12% against the background of 2013.

From a legal point of view, despite the presence of a huge number of cases of medical errors in medical practice, the term ‘medical error’ in the legal sense, is unfolded and locked in a legal document not in its entirety. It suggests another concept – ‘inadequate medical care’, pointing out that in the medical literature there is no less than sixty-five intermediate definitions of concepts describing a medical error.

medical lawThe forensic-medical practice, when addressing to the definition of a medical error it is necessary to distinguish the crimes of the so-called ‘allowable medical activities of professional errors’. It is clear is that the majority of providers include medical errors to the purely medical concepts, in connection with what is said about the impossibility of attracting health workers to criminal liability for committing professional mistakes. At the same time, for many years in the work of forensic doctors and lawyers the concept of ‘medical error’ contained so much controversy that it was not conducive to carry out an objective study of this phenomenon.

In the medical literature, it is generally accepted definition of a medical error as a voluntary doctor misconception based on the imperfection of the current state of medical science and its research methods or the peculiarities of the disease caused by a particular patient, or due to a lack of knowledge and experience of the doctor. The term ‘misleading’ is used to determine the error in the knowledge of a doctor and denotes an action or process of expressing the wrong idea about the properties and relations of the object. But the so-called ‘error’ may occur as a result of insufficient knowledge and skills of a particular specialist, so every health worker is obliged to constantly replenish their professional knowledge by participating in conferences, exchanging opinions with professionally trained staff, reading a special medical and other literature.