TMPC broadens knowledge of stakeholders on medical-clinical negligence

Health Tmpc Workshop
Tmpc Workshop

The Traditional Medicine Practice Council (TMPC) has organized a two-day training workshop on medical negligence and operations management for its stakeholders to broaden their scope of knowledge in the area of medical/clinical negligence.

It was also to position practitioners to better deal with challenges they might be confronted with in their practice while appreciating the legal issues involved in their work and effectively handling risks inherent in the practice of medicine.

Mr J. Edem Menka, and Mr Emmanuel Acolatse, both lawyers facilitated the workshop held in Accra.

Their presentation drew participants’ attention to the potential sources of medical negligence, reduction of the incidence of medical negligence, and the protection of the traditional and alternative medicine practice landscape against medical negligence suit or litigation.

Mr Menka pointed out that clinical negligence is a failure by a medical professional or organization to take adequate care of a patient and that; “Clinical negligence constitutes an act or omission by a healthcare professional which falls below the accepted standard of care resulting to injury or death of the patient.”

He said the law court in establishing medical negligence identifies how the elements of general negligence to wit; duty of care, breach of duty, and harm caused by the breach were applicable in the medical/clinical setting and the various nuances and pitfalls that a healthcare professional should be mindful of.

He said clinical negligence litigation was not designed to punish healthcare professionals or to protect the public and improve patient safety, but to compensate people who have suffered an avoidable injury, adding that; “Simply put it is an attempt by the courts to make good the harm that has been caused.”

Mr Menka mentioned some of the common types of clinical/medical negligence claims as misdiagnosis and late diagnosis, birth injuries, brain injuries, surgical negligence, prescription errors, and negligent advice.

He urged traditional and alternative medicine practitioners to pay serious attention to recording keeping, adding that; “Looking at negligence it is only a court of law that can determine whether a person has been negligent or otherwise.

“Because once a suit is commenced the court will be entitled to look at the general facts and decide based on the fact which has been presented to the court concerning a negligence by a practitioner.”

“How do you prove that you are negligent or not; it goes back to record keeping. Are you keeping up records of all the clients you have met? Because once somebody sues you, the main document that the court would be relying on or would be looking into is the medical records and the history of what you have recorded, which would be the first step of defending whatever they have against you.”

Mr F.K. Hlortsi-Akakpo, the Registrar of the TMPC and a Divisional Chief of Afife Traditional Area in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said the workshop was of great importance to improve the standard of practitioners because of issues of medical negligence against some well-established health institutions in the country.

“Some of these medical institutions are grappling with huge damages and the TMPC as a regulator could not wait to see these things hitting the landscape of the traditional and alternative medicine practitioners, hence the need to build their capacity,” he said

He said: “I believe prevention is better than cure. If we are knowledgeable in how to prevent these things when they come I think the judges would also appreciate that we have done our best.”

Mr Hlortsi-Akakpo entreated the participants to impart the knowledge they have acquired during the training workshop to their colleagues and staff while calling on the practitioners to be of good standing with the TMPC for proper recognition.

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