Medical Negligence is substandard care that's been provided by a medical professional to a patient which has directly caused injury or caused an existing condition to get worse ( Irwin Mitchell 2019).
Medical Negligence or Malpractice isn't just a term, it costs someone's life, damaged family tree, rendered vegetative, impotent, miserable and lifeless. This error is catastrophic and destructive, it destroyed new and old family ties. This act is only perpetrated by healthcare practitioners. This error isn't numerical nor engineering, not an error you can easily correct through a pen, computer, balancing, nor a machine. No technology advancement can mitigate medical errors.
Let me give you a typical and valide example. You can cross check, this isn't a make up story, you can access it through google. Few days ago I came across a touching and emotional article of a young, dynamic, promising and dedicated athlete. 37 years ago, Jean-Pierre Adams, had a minor surgery - Knee surgery, common among athletes, the anesthetist that attended to him committed a medical error that put this man into a severe comatose state.
He became vegetative and miserable, his life and career completely shattered. The procedure was done in 1982, he was discharged home in 1983 to continu receiving care at home, his wife's life and career also turned nightmare as she can't go out for her regular daily activities, she stood firmly by her husband neglecting her personal ambition, she provided all care her husband needed. Jean-Pierre Adams is now 71 years old, he spent his energetic, youthful, and dynamic young adulthood in misery due to a medical fault.
With the above analysis, you will agree that medical error isn't just a term, expression or ordinary error because victim paid dearly and hardly for someone's error. Medical malpractice, Negligence or any other error can be mitigated and prevented in all ramifications. In as much as human error is inevitable, medical error can be averted because it's preempted. The victim is a potential role model, world best player, leader and father. His ambition was greatly and completely turned apart.
Every health practitioners has code of ethics, standard of practices, Ethics and etiquettes of (nursing, medicine, etc) Practice, other policy and regulatory framework that are designed to promote standard of practices and care.
These framework and policy should be uphold by the practitioners so as to avoid unredeemable medical error. The victim should not pay for such dangerous, erroneous practice. If the patient can't receive positive care it shouldn't be aggravated.
In America, there were more than 250,000 medical negligence report every year. In Africa, several unreported and under-reported medical malpractice and negligence occurred, victims accept the consequence of the negligence as act of faith and make no claims. High level of illiteracy and inaccessibility to healthcare information is a major factor in Africa. Hence, there is a need to promote public awareness on why, where and how to report a medical negligence.
There are lawsuits instituted against hospitals, and practitioners, the victims received their claims and rights. Is this justifiable? Does it correct the error committed? Does it rectify the anomaly?
Does it deliver peace and justice to the victim? Healthcare practitioner should perform their work diligently, abide by the ethics and standard of the profession, prevent medical malpractice, negligence and error. Continuous mandatory program for health care practitioners on how to avert medical errors should be designed. Professional oath should also be reechoed and a system be put in place as a surveillance that will monitor any form of negligence, malpractice and error even if it's as small as bedbug.
By Omolola Adams
Public Health Expertise & Strategist
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