Society suggests formation of medical arbitration board


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 02 Jan 2003

BY M. KRISHNAMOORTHY

PETALING JAYA: A medical arbitration board has been proposed to check the rise in indemnity insurance premiums and to promote better medical practices. 

Medico-Legal Society president Datuk Dr Alex Delikan said such a board would help reduce litigation by bringing about amicable solutions between doctors and patients involved in negligence disputes. 

He said the increase in premiums created a vicious cycle, as it might be passed on to consumers. 

“As a short-term solution, an arbitrator or mediator can help in discussing fairly with both parties. 

“Increasing litigations and the 'let's sue' mentality had pushed up the cost of insurance,” he said in an interview. 

Dr Delikan was commenting on the news report in The Star yesterday, which said indemnity insurance premiums for doctors will be higher from next month.  

“Insurance costs will go up annually if the public does not restrain from suing and if the doctors do not practise better standards of medicine.” 

He said the move might result in doctors practising defensive medicine and doing more tests on patients to reduce the chances of being sued. 

Dr Delikan said that litigation had got out of hand in Australia and the United States and this had led to some companies refusing to provide coverage. 

“As a result, some doctors resorted to practising alternative medicine because of the fear of being sued and not being covered by insurance companies. This is a dangerous trend and I hope it will not happen in Malaysia.” 

He also attributed the deterioration in the standard of medical practice to the increase in legal suits. 

The long-term solution, he said, was better medical practice and this could only be achieved through more emphasis on medical ethics at the universities and medical colleges. 

“If the doctors were inculcated with better medical practice and ethics, the number of medical negligence suits will decrease,” said Dr Delikan who has been teaching and practising medicine for the past 35 years. 

The Medico-Legal Society, he said, was committed to getting doctors and lawyers to work together and better understand issues concerning the two professions. 

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