Legal settlements of medical accidents

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When an accident occurs during the course of clinical treatment, it is important to record the series of events as objectively as and in the most precise detail possible. The causes of the accident should be investigated with all due speed, and an accurate, consistent account should be rendered to the patient's family. When the cause of a patient's death is not clear, a pathological autopsy should be performed. It is the legal responsibility of physicians to notify the police of unexpected death when medical malpractice is suspected, and in compliance with the law an autopsy must be performed. A malpractice suit brought against a medical institution can be settled by two means: out-of-court settlement; and court decision. An out-of-court settlement in the event of obvious medical error is the more desirable option from the viewpoint of immediate relief of patients and/or ther families. At present, an average of three years elapses before a medical malpractice suit can be resolved in the courts. One of the main reasons for this delay in the settlement of court case is the difficulty in obtaining competent expert witnesses, and therefore members of the Japan Surgical Society should cooperate actively with the legal authorities in medical malpractice suits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-302
Number of pages4
JournalNippon Geka Gakkai zasshi
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Mar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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