Background: There has been a gradual increase in disputes between doctors and patients in the healthcare system over the years. The aim of this review was to determine the speciality-wise prevalence of medical negligence in cases decided by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) and the factors responsible for it.
Methods: A total of 253 cases of medical negligence decided by the NCDRC from 2015 to 2019 were reviewed and categorised with respect to the number of cases compensated, the speciality involved, the compensation payout for the specialities involved, and the nature of the error leading to negligence.
Results: Among the cases analysed, negligence was identified in 135(53%) cases. Of these, the incidence of negligence was highest in surgery [37(27%)], followed by obstetrics and gynaecology (OBG) [29(21%)]. The highest compensation payouts were Rs 1.38 crore and Rs 1.1 crore in the paediatrics and OBG specialties, respectively. The common errors were lack of skill/care in the treatment of the patient [62(36%)] and failure to maintain accurate medical records [38 (22%)].
Conclusion: The study of adverse events in healthcare practice can improve the quality of patient care, and steps can be taken to reduce such events. Many adverse events are preventable by improving the skill/care in treatment and meticulous record keeping.
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