There are over 500,000 medical professionals working in Australia and with such a huge number you can be sure that there’s at least a small percentage of healthcare workers who aren’t up to scratch. Medical negligence is often only ever talking about in hushed voices and it can be extremely frustrating and upsetting for both victims and their lawyers when the perpetrator is allowed to continue to work or even gets completely away with it.
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When a doctor or healthcare professional is accused of being negligent in their duty of providing the utmost of care to their patient the wheels of the review system can turn very slowly indeed. It’s normally only a small percentage of doctors who are complained about, but these doctors are the ones who are complained about all the time. There’s even been estimates that out of all the complaints made about medical professionals in Victoria, three percent of the total number of health workers in state are responsible for more than half of the complaints received, yet these people still continue to work in this industry.
The big problem is when it comes to punishing doctors for cases of medical negligence it’s the fact that to prove medical negligencea supporting argument must also be made by another practicing doctor. In fact in NSW, a medical negligence case cannot begin without this crucial support. Unfortunately the community of medical professionals is well-established from university and beyond and it can be extremely difficult to find a doctor who will support your case within Australia. So what can you do?
In the case of medical negligence, to achieve any sort of improvement in the treatment of victims and the subsequent punishment of offending doctors it’s important that everyone who has suffered speaks up and attempts to get their case to court. There’ve already been successes, for instance, in the case of Dr James Peters who infected 55 women with Hepatitis C, Dr Peters was jailed for 14 years.
If you’re interested in learning more about the prominence of medical negligence take a look at Medical Negligence Claims on the Rise for GPs.