Go to contents

Medical Accident To Be Settled Within 60 Days

Posted July. 19, 2001 08:10,   


Dispute over the medical accident between patient and the medical institute will be settled within 60 days beginning in 2003. When a medical personnel, by mistake, hurts a patient, he or she may not be subject to the criminal punishment if the patient does not want to pursue.

Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) announced yesterday that it plans to pass a new bill on the medical dispute adjustment in the General Assembly and to enforce the new law beginning in 2003. The new bill on the medical dispute adjustment calls for the establishment of the medical dispute adjustment committee (MDAC) both in the central region and the local. According to the new bill, the MDAC will inquire the responsibility for the medical accident and determine the amount of compensation for damage.

According to the bill, the MDAC, which will be established as a special private corporation registered under the MHW, is to be divided into 10 adjustment departments which combine 2-4 medical treatment items, and the each adjustment department is to be composed of 10-15 part-time adjustment committee members, such as legalists, medical personnel, the representative consumer, and 3-5 investigators.

In addition, for the convenience of the victims, four local MDAC will be separately established in the areas like Pusan, Daegu, Kwangju, and Daejeon, and they will make adjustment for each jurisdiction.

The MDAC has to decide the content of adjustment within 60 days (30 days of extension is possible once) from the day of applying for adjustment and report to the victim, the related medical doctor or the insurance company. If both parties agree on the adjustment content, or the victim receives the compensation for damage, it is considered settled in terms of civil law.

Although the medical personnel commits a medical accident applicable to the article 268 in the criminal law (accidental homicide and infliction of injury, and the homicide and the infliction of injury by gross negligence), he or she is not to be indicted if the patient is just injured (pertinent to accidental infliction of injury) and if the victim does not want the punishment of the medical personnel.

Victims of the medical accident can choose either the dispute adjustment or civil lawsuit. When the victim is not satisfied with the content of adjustment, the victim can file a civil lawsuit again.

The establisher of the medical institute is obliged to subscribe, under the name of the establisher or the name of the medical institute, either the medical compensation liability insurance or the medical compensation cooperative run by a medical (personnel or institute) organization. If this is violated, the suspension of a business license will be ordered.

In terms of a no-fault accident due to the patient’s idiosyncrasy or sensitive reaction, the government will pay a fixed amount of compensation to the victims through the compensation system for the no-fault accident.

The MHW said, ``Although 7,000 cases of medical accident per year are estimated, patients and their families suffer gravely due to the inertia of the dispute adjustment system. Once this new system is enforced, rights and interests of the patient will be enormously improved because the time to settle the medical dispute will be reduced from the average 4 years of civil lawsuit to two months.``

Song Sang-Keun songmoon@donga.com