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02.08.2005 General News

Doctors To Face Prosecution If…

By Times

Medical doctors and other health workers have been advised to adhere strictly to safety and medical regulations in order to safeguard the lives of their patients and improve upon the nation's health care delivery.

The practitioners were also told that they could be held 'medically liable for criminal negligence' if they fail to deliver the expected reasonable health care for their patients and that the state will be the only authority to prosecute offenders.

Dr Yao Tettey, of the Department of Pathology of the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS), Legon, said these when he delivered a lecture on "Medico-Legal Issues in the Medical Practice" at the SSNIT Guest House in Accra. Dr Tetteh observed that the action of some doctors may constitute negligence, thereby causing damage to others. These damages may take the form of injuries to persons, physical deformities, damage to financial interest and even cause death.

Dr Yao Tettey who was addressing some senior medical doctors who are affiliates to the Gemini Life Insurance Company (GLICO) Health Plan Service Provider Network, noted that the issue of medical litigation is surfacing in Ghana due to the negligence of some medial personnel and that with the passage of time, medical litigation will gain solid grounds in the country.

He said it is therefore necessary for doctors to be schooled on the principles and legal issues of medical litigation to prepare them for the challenges ahead. He disclosed that medical litigation has a negative effect on the profession; it has the potential to let doctors under perform, he said, adding that medical litigation borders on "pure negligence." He defined negligence as the omission to do something or doing something which a reasonable man, guided by the rules and regulations, will do or will not do.

Dr Tettey reminded the Medical Professional that ignorance of any knowledge or previous information about their profession does not exempt any one of them from being held liable for negligence.