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When Healthcare Fails You: A Guide to Medical Negligence Law & Patient Rights in the UAE

Medical negligence issues are comprehensively addressed under Federal Decree-Law No. 4/2016 on Medical Liability in the UAE

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Pavitra Shetty

Published on May 21, 2024, 11:16:00


medical negligence, medical negligence in uae, healthcare, diya money

Instances of medical negligence, such as misdiagnosis, surgical errors, and medication mistakes, represent critical challenges within healthcare systems worldwide, including in the UAE.

These instances significantly impact both patients and healthcare practitioners and are comprehensively addressed under Federal Decree-Law No. 4/2016 on Medical Liability in the UAE.

Medical negligence, as defined by Article 6 of the Medical Liability Law, occurs when a practitioner fails to meet the required standard of care, resulting in harm to the patient. Practitioners are held responsible for their actions, encompassing various scenarios of deviation from accepted medical norms.

It is thus defined as an act or failure to act by a medical professional deviating from accepted standards of care, holding significant legal implications in the UAE.

Under Medical Liability Federal Law No. 4 of 2016, practitioners are mandated to uphold established medical practices, deviations constituting medical malpractice.

Defining Gross Medical Error and Legal Ramifications

Gross medical errors, as outlined in Article 5 of the Executive Regulations, encompass severe deviations from standard care, including errors resulting in patient death or organ loss, practitioner intoxication, and severe carelessness such as overdose or leaving medical equipment in the patient’s body.

Legal steps for victims are delineated, including approaching healthcare authorities and civil courts for compensation, or filing criminal complaints against practitioners or clinics.

Responsibilities of Healthcare Professionals

Article 3 of the UAE’s Federal Decree-Law No. 4/2016 emphasises that healthcare professionals in the UAE must fulfill their responsibilities honestly and accurately. They are required to follow recognised scientific and technical guidelines to provide proper care to patients.

Duties and Responsibilities of Practitioners

The medical liability law outlines the duties and obligations of practitioners, emphasising accuracy, honesty and adherence to scientific rules. Violations carry penalties, including imprisonment and fines, reinforcing the importance of complying with professional standards.

Role of Medical Liability Committees

Medical Responsibility Committees examine complaints related to medical errors, determining the extent of negligence and assessing damages. The law ensures a fair and thorough examination of alleged medical negligence cases, promoting accountability and justice.

Penalties for Medical Negligence

Article 28 specifies penalties for medical negligence, including imprisonment and fines. The severity of penalties varies depending on the nature of the offense, degree of negligence, and impact on patient well-being, highlighting the gravity of medical errors.

Civil Liability Insurance Mandate

Article 25 mandates practitioners to have civil liability insurance for medical errors from licensed insurance companies in the UAE. This insurance serves as a safeguard for both practitioners and patients, ensuring compensation in case of medical errors.

Recourse for Victims

Article 34 addresses serious medical errors, with offenders facing imprisonment and fines. Victims have the right to pursue reconciliation with the accused, ensuring accountability and compensation for medical negligence. Understanding the legal framework is crucial for maintaining accountability and ensuring the highest quality of healthcare services for patients.

Pursuing Compensation and Diya Money

Victims of medical malpractice can seek compensation for various damages, including emotional stress, loss of income, medical expenses and loss of love.

Additionally, Diya (blood money) may be claimed for deaths resulting from medical negligence, with Article 34 specifying penalties for practitioners involved in gross medical errors, particularly those under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Understanding the legal framework is crucial for maintaining accountability and ensuring the highest quality of healthcare services for patients.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.