In the classical (civil) understanding of “medical error”, we therefore have a connection between the resulting event (effect) and the doctor’s action / inaction. This means that it is necessary to prove in court that the effect of the patient was caused by the actions of a particular doctor. However, when examining the case in committee, the situation is different. It doesn’t matter who directly caused the damage. Evidence is not collected to establish the guilt of a particular person.
The fact that a patient’s health is deteriorating leads to a “medical event”. Thus, “medical incident” and “medical error” are correlated, but for the evaluation of the commission it does not matter who is to blame for the situation. Therefore, it is correct that the legislator did not use the term “medical error” in the law, but only used the term “medical event”. Despite the similarity of the names, they refer to other types of liability of legal persons for damages.
One can agree with Daria Korytkovskaya’s position that a medical event is, in fact, “medical actions that have contributed to the deterioration of the patient’s health or led to his death due to misdiagnosis, improper treatment or drug use.” ”. (Adapted from: D. Korytkowska, The concept of medical error and medical event, Acta Universitatis Lawodsis, Folia Oeconomica 274, 2012, pp. 68-69).
A completely different situation is associated with a complication that has occurred, understood as a disease caused by the actions performed in a hospital (this mainly refers to surgical treatment or the use of certain drugs). Assessing whether or not the complication is due to a conflict of interest causes the committee to determine whether or not we are dealing with a medical event.
It should be noted that not every complication is a medical event. The occurrence of complications is influenced by the patient’s individual characteristics, age, health on the day of the contested medical action, as well as previous illnesses, operations or the presence of concomitant diseases. When assessing a specific condition, it is also important whether the patient has been properly informed about the possibility of complications and whether he or she really knew what he or she was signing when he or she signed the consent for certain actions.
Other issues to be assessed are the existing procedures and guidelines of scientific societies that define performance standards in the provision of specific health services, as well as the type of complications. Here it is worth asking about the limits of liability for complications that occur. Can health professionals, especially doctors, be held accountable if something goes wrong with treatment? Even if they were informed about such a possibility?