Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 23, 2007

Set up specialist panels

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:02 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Panels of specialists should be set up within various medical disciplines to cut down on the number of medical negligence cases brought to court.
This will consequently lessen the trauma on doctors, patients and their families.
Retired High Court judge Datuk R.K. Nathan made the suggestion in his keynote address at the “Assessing and Determining Quality of Life for People with Medical Disabilities” seminar on Saturday.
He said medical specialists should form their own guild according to their discipline and each guild would then set up a panel of its own specialists to look into complaints of negligence to ascertain whether there was a need for a particular doctor to settle the case or fight it out in court.
“This way, the moment a notice is given, the doctor or surgeon will be called up by the panel.
“If there is a clear case of negligence, the panel can advise the doctor to settle the case quickly,” said Nathan, who is also an expert in medico-legal cases.
Nathan said the findings made by the panels should be confidential.
He said it was timely that “the medical profession self-regulates itself” especially with the December landmark ruling by the Federal Court, which raised the standards for medical professionals when carrying out their duty.
The Federal Court unanimously ruled on a negligence suit by quadriplegic Foo Fio Na against Assunta Hospital and an orthopaedic surgeon that the Bolam test based on a 1957 negligence suit in England could no longer be used as the yardstick to measure the degree of negligence.
(The Bolam principle restrains the courts from scrutinising and evaluating the professional conduct of a doctor possessing a special skill and competence.

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