Friday, April 17, 2009

Will little Iyaan get justice in medical malpractice case?

While the Maldivian judicial system grapples with one of its first medical malpractice cases, everyone wishes well for the little 5-year old girl at the center of the case, who sustained permanent damage to her ears and hopes she will get justice.

The case revolves around a course of the antibiotic gentamicin given to Aishath Iyaan in 2007, when she was only 3 years old. Later, Iyaan developed deafness.

While quite commonly used for serious infections with susceptible bacteria, gentamicin has well known side effects, which include ear and kidney damage. Thus the question of malpractice will hinge on whether it was used appropriately with due precautions. For example:

  1. Was there a proper indication (reason) to use gentamicin and was it the best choice for the child's infection?
  2. Was the dose appropriate for the body weight?
  3. Were the parents informed of the risks?
  4. Was kidney function monitored?

[Note: the above is not an exhaustive list.]

Going through reports of the case in Jazeera and Minivan News it appears that the hospital records of the child were not documented well enough to answer the above and other similar questions. In many jurisdictions in the developed world, lack of documentation is taken as evidence against the hospital, which has the burden of proof to show that it followed standard recommendations and procedures.


Anonymous said...

i wonder how many children are injured by carelss doctors.

Anonymous said...

Again this highlights the importance of proper legislature in managing the health care.