UAE legal Q&A: how can I file a malpractice case against a doctor?
A reader asks what the process is to file a medical malpractice case against a doctor for compensation
My doctor misdiagnosed my condition twice. I went for a second opinion and found that I had been suffering from a certain condition for many months, but my first doctor did not mention it. Now my disease is more serious and I want to file a case against the doctor for malpractice. Will I be able to get any damages?
Law no.10/2008 is the law related to the medical practice in UAE. The law organises the obligations and duties of people working in the medical field.
Article No. 4 of the law lists the doctors’ obligations as follows:
The physician must be particularly subject to the following:
1. Adhering to the rules, regulations, and procedures relating to practicing the profession according to their degree and field of specialisation.
2. Registering the patients health status and their personal and family biography before the beginning of diagnosis and treatment.
3. Prescribing medicine, determining its quantity and the method of use clearly in writing along with the name, signature, and date of the medical formula. The prescription should draw the attention of the patient or their family that it is necessary to commit to the method specified for treatment and the important side effects which are may occur from the medicines use.
4. Informing the patient of the nature and severity of their illness except if their interest requires something different or if their psychological status does not allow informing them. On the other hand, the patient's family must be informed in the following two cases:
a) If the patient is incompetent or if not fully competent.
b) If his health case does not allow informing him personally and it was difficult to get his consent to inform his family.
5. Monitoring any complications caused by the medical or surgical treatment and initiating treatment as soon as possible.
6. Co-operating with doctors related to the patients treatment, providing data concerning their health status and any follow ups when requested, and consulting a specialist if required.
The law also mentions the conditions of doctors’ liability and the case of exemption from liability in article 14 of the law:
1. A doctor is liable if the medical mistake is caused by the doctors ignorance of technical matters that they should have knowledge of or if the mistake is caused by negligence or a lack of the necessary care.
The doctor is not deemed medically liable in the following cases:
1. If damage occurred as a result of the patient: their refusal of treatment, or failure to follow medical instructions given by those who are responsible for treatment or damage was caused by an external issue.
All this shall be done without prejudice to the provision of the Sub-Item (D) of Item (D) of Article (7) of this law.
2. If the doctor followed a certain medical method in treatment contrary to the relevant jurisdiction as long as the method followed in treatment in accordance with the generally accepted medical rules.
3. If the medical effects and complications known in the medical practice occurred and not caused by the medical mistake according to what is stated in Item (1) of this article.
The UAE law also states that all potential cases of medical malpractice must be registered with the high commission of medical responsibility, an organisation that was formed as per the law to receive complaints and prepare reports about malpractice in the medical field.
Article no 16 and 17 of law No10/2008 state:
The committee shall be responsible for submitting the opinion at the request of the General Prosecution, the competent court, or the healthy organisation concerning the following:
1. Whether or not a medical mistake occurred, along with indicating its reasons; the damages resulting from it, if any; the causation relationship between the mistake and the damage, and any other required matters.
2. The dangers of the profession relating to the medical practices.
After the committee submits a report confirming malpractice, then you are entitled to file your compensation case before the concerned court to request compensation.
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