The subject is large amounts of compensation lawsuits filed against doctors for their faulty medical practices. This is also called malpractice suits. It can also boil down to the fact that the patient suffers material and moral damage as a result of the fault of the doctor and sue the latter against him.
The topic came on the agenda with news from Özge Eğrikar from Hürriyet. According to the news; pilot E. filed a malpractice lawsuit for one million lira against two doctors and a private hospital due to the loss of vision in his eye as a result of mistreatment.
This case is not the first; there are many cases opened in this way and pending before the courts; There are also ongoing lawsuits. This question was also the main point on the agenda of the Joint Health Solutions Meetings organized by the Association of Private Hospitals and Health Organizations (OHSAD) on March 26 and in which I participated. At the meeting, I heard complaints from many physicians regarding malpractice cases. The situation has become such that I have also heard doctors say, “Soon we won’t even be able to operate for fear of being sued.”
Let’s be clear, the subject is a sensitive and difficult subject. On the one hand, there are patients who have lost their quality of life, and on the other, there are doctors to whom we entrust our health and our lives. That’s why you have to be careful when writing and speaking. Well, isn’t there insurance that protects the doctor against these lawsuits? There are; Specialist doctors practicing in private or public hospitals or practicing in a private capacity without being affiliated with a hospital are compulsorily insured against material and moral indemnities which could be claimed from them as a result of the death or disability of the patient. This insurance is also called doctor’s liability insurance. Without this insurance, doctors cannot pursue their professional activities.
COMPENSATION IS NOT ENOUGH
So what’s the problem ? The amount of compensation to be paid by the insurance to the patients’ relatives varies between 200,000 lire and 800,000 lire, depending on the specialties of the doctors. In other words, the highest indemnity to be paid by the insurance is 800,000 lire. However, in recent years, the amount of compensation demanded in lawsuits against doctors varies between 6 and 10 million lire.
Let me tell you in advance, what I wrote is that someone asks, “How much does a life or injury cost?” don’t get involved in the discussion; We do our due diligence. In 11 years, the right to receive compensation of 2 billion lire for patients and their relatives arose from the civil liability insurance for doctors, which started in 2010, but only 250-300 thousand lire were paid out. Why is that? Because malpractice suits take years. Nearly 90% of cases are made up of non-pecuniary damages. I remember very well, there was a problem between insurance and doctors in 2017 and risky surgeries stopped at that time.
At this stage, there is insufficient insurance against the lawsuits filed, the amounts of compensation sought in the lawsuits and the amounts of compensation decided by the courts. For example, the court opened to two doctors from a private hospital ordered compensation of 12 million lire in total.
PUBLIC WILL BE IMPLEMENTED
So how is the problem solved? We discussed this issue in detail with the President of OHSAD, Reşat Bahat, during the health congress. The first problem is that lawsuits against doctors are heard in consumer courts and trials take place in consumer courts. What should happen? Cases should be heard by specialized courts to be established in this area, not by consumer courts.
As a second solution, the coverage of doctors’ liability insurance can be increased. However, this means putting the onus on the insurance companies. What could it be? Perhaps an insurance pool will be created for doctors’ liability insurance and the public will seriously fund it. Third, doctors can be financed by the state in cases of doctor’s compensation, which is the case in European countries.
In my opinion, there is a study that the public will finance the indemnities to be paid by doctors, especially in public hospitals. During our conversation, Reşat Bahat also mentioned that the problem should be solved as soon as possible and said, “Doctors have to pay a lot of money which they earn throughout their working life or they do their job. with this fear.”