Did you know about the rights to take action to court if you suffer an injury or disability as a result of not receiving proper treatment?

What is medical negligence?

Medical negligence is a breach of the duty of care owed by a healthcare professional to their patient resulting in harm or injury. This breach of duty can occur when the healthcare professional fails to provide or use their service according to the acceptable and reasonable standard.

How to prove medical negligence by healthcare professionals?

1. The doctors and hospitals owed the patient a duty of care and a reasonable treatment following the reasonable medical standard. 

2. The doctors have breached their duty of care to the patient when the doctors fail to carry the treatment following the reasonable medical standard. 

3. The patients suffered damages or injury. 

4. The causal relation between the negligent act and injury suffered.

What can you claim if you suffered injury due to negligence by doctors or hospitals?

You can seek damages from the parties concerned. On part of damages, the Court will decide that the damages are a form of monetary compensation intended to restore the victim to the position they would have been in had the negligence not occurred. Damages are divided into two which are: 

General damages are granted for intangible injuries such as compensation for pain and suffering, loss of amenities. 

Special damages are awarded for losses that can be calculated, such as medical costs and bills and loss of earnings.

If you want to start legal action, what are the things you need to do?

1. You need to provide all documents related to injuries and losses suffered such as medical reports, hospital appointment cards, and payment receipts. 

2. Contact lawyers and get legal advice to proceed with the next steps. 

3. Appoint a lawyer to start the action in court.

In NI v Samuel [2013] 9 MLJ 385, the Plaintiff discovered she was pregnant again four months after the birth of her fifth child. Plaintiff asked the Defendant, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, to terminate the pregnancy and at the same time insert an intrauterine contraceptive device. While consulting the Defendant, the Defendant allegedly assured the Plaintiff that the procedures they wanted were relatively simple.

However, while the procedures were being performed, the Plaintiff’s right uterine wall and right artery of the uterus were perforated necessitating an emergency life-saving operation by the Defendant to remove her womb and right ovary. In her instant action for negligence, the Plaintiff pleaded that the Defendant failed to advise her beforehand of the risks involved in the procedures.

The Plaintiff claimed the Defendant’s negligence caused her much pain and suffering, emotional distress. She is no longer able to get pregnant again. Apart from general damages, the Plaintiff claimed special damages of RM6,000 for hiring a maid for a year to help her look after her children during her post-operative recuperation period and RM1,000 for the purchase of extra nourishing food. 

Court allowed the claim with costs and awarding the plaintiff RM220,000 in general damages (less 10% for overlapping) and RM3,000 in special damages with interest on both sums on a balance of probabilities negligence had been clearly established that the Defendant in his treatment of the Plaintiff had not acted in accordance with the standard of care expected of him.

In IA [suing as the administrator of the Deceased] v GM & 10 others, the plaintiff was the father and administrator of the deceased. In July 2015, the deceased’s mother was admitted to the hospital to undertake artificial rupture of membranes.

Soon thereafter, the fetus was noted to have slowing of the heartbeat in utero. A decision was made to undertake an emergency lower segment caesarean section and the deceased was delivered in an asphyxiated state the same day. The deceased suffered severe brain damage after his delivery at the hospital which belonged to D1. In December 2019, the Plaintiff filed this action as the father and litigation representative of the deceased against the defendants for alleged medical negligence resulting in severe brain damage.

The deceased passed away at the age of five years and the plaintiff was now suing in his capacity as the administrator of the estate of the deceased. The plaintiff claimed for general and special damages and costs and interests. 

The court finds that the Plaintiff has proven its claim for general and special damages on a balance of probabilities. The total damages assessed and awarded to the plaintiff is the sum of RM 775,375.50 together with costs in the sum of RM 70,000 to be paid by the first defendant to the Plaintiff. 

If you need legal advice on what medical negligence is or any advice regarding law, contact us now to set up an appointment with our lawyers. 

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