[Briefing and accusation of medical malpractice--the second victim].Laryngorhinootologie. 2013 Apr; 92 Suppl 1:S1-22.L
In June 2012, the German Medical Association (Bundesärztekammer) published the statistics of medical malpractice for 2011 . Still ENT-specific accusations of medical malpractice are by far the fewest in the field of hospitals and actually even in the outpatient context. Clearly most of the unforeseen incidents still occur in the disciplines of trauma surgery and orthopedics. In total, however, an increasing number of errors in treatment can be noticed on the multidisciplinary level: in 25.5% of the registered cases, an error in treatment was found to be the origin of damage to health justifying a claim for compensation of the patient. In the year before, it was only 24.7%. The reasons may be manifold, but the medical system itself certainly plays a major role in this context: the recent developments related to health policy lead to a continuous economisation of medical care. Rationing and limited remuneration more and more result in the fact that therapeutic decisions are not exclusively made for the benefit of the patient but that they are oriented at economic or bureaucratic aspects. Thus, in the long term, practising medicine undergoes a change. According to the §§ 1, 3 of the professional code of conduct for doctors (Musterberufsordnung für Ärzte; MBO-Ä) medical practice as liberal profession is principally incompatible with the pursuit of profit, however, even doctors have to earn money which more and more makes him play the role of a businessman. Lack of personnel and staff savings lead to excessive workloads of physicians, caregivers, and nurses, which also favour errors. The quality and even the confidential relationship between doctor and patient, which is important for the treatment success, are necessarily affected by the cost pressure. The victims in this context are not only the patients but also the physicians find themselves in the continuous conflict between ethical requirements of their profession and the actual requirements of the realities in the healthcare field. But also the technical and scientific progress bear new risks beside the therapeutic successes, further especially bigger hospitals require high efforts regarding organisation favouring errors in cases of deficiencies. Even the increasing juridification of the medicine that is expected to achieve a provisional highlight with the planned law of patients' rights leads to an important focus on the quality of medical care . The explicit legal regulation of patients' rights, which have never been out of question up to now, confirms the impression of patients who have to be protected from their doctors. This development favours a natural mistrust in the quality of the treatment and the desire of legal verification in cases of treatment failures. A totally perfect and error-free treatment, however, will never occur. Already this fact leads to the obligation to do everything possible to reduce the risk to an absolute minimum. The risks that might arise from a relation of treatment are manifold. Not only may the patient undergo risks that arise in particular from lacking or insufficient briefing, complications, or medical malpractice. Also the doctor has to fear legal consequences if he does not stick clearly to the increasing requirements that jurisdiction and legislation impose - not least by the planned law of patients' rights. In the following, the basic principles and particularities will be described that apply for the patients' briefing. Further the different types of medical malpractice will be explained in relation to the resulting procedural consequences. Finally some current problematic fields will be described with regard to other possible liabilities or responsibilities of physicians in hospitals or doctor's offices.