Jerusalem, Israel – A series of severe malfunctions in 20 hospitals across Israel has led to a disturbing incident where numerous patients received medications intended for other individuals. While the exact number of affected patients remains unknown, the implications of this medical error have raised numerous legal and ethical questions.
One pressing issue is whether the patients who received the wrong medications can pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. Determining who is eligible to sue and whom they could potentially sue poses challenges. Additionally, there are questions surrounding the criminality of withholding information and whether a class action lawsuit should be initiated on behalf of the affected patients.
The gravity of this situation cannot be understated; it is undoubtedly a case of medical malpractice. Administering incorrect medications poses life-threatening risks to patients. Concerningly, the hospitals publicly acknowledged the mishap a full 10 days after its discovery, rather than promptly addressing the issue as expected from a medical institution.
Individuals who have been harmed by receipt of incorrect medical treatment that was not prescribed to them can potentially sue. In such cases, it is feasible to file a lawsuit even without concrete proof of harm, as the focus is on the incorrect dosage and improper medical treatment provided. While severe harm may not apply to most patients, there is a possibility of filing a class action lawsuit to address the violation of their autonomy in terms of body and health.
When it comes to determining the parties that can be held accountable, the complexity arises from the involvement of 20 different hospitals. In Israel, most hospitals are owned by the state or general health insurance funds. Consequently, lawsuits are typically filed against these entities rather than specific medical professionals, given that the latter act as representatives of the medical institutions. However, if necessary, separate lawsuits can be brought against individual hospitals or medical institutions.
Regarding the software responsible for this malfunction, it is crucial to approach the issue by initially filing claims against the medical institutions. If required, the institutions themselves can later submit third-party notices against the software manufacturer. Moreover, even though the malfunction was only discovered in government and general health insurance fund hospitals, it is possible to sue the general health insurance fund since it is one of the country’s major medical service providers.
For patients who were not directly affected by the incident, the basis for claiming negligence and seeking compensation lies in the violation of autonomy. However, without tangible harm, it is challenging to envision large-scale lawsuits without evidence of an injury, especially considering that non-economic damages compensation in Israel is relatively low compared to other Western countries. This obstacle emphasizes the potential significance of a class action lawsuit.
A class action lawsuit could be a viable means of rectifying the injustice experienced by thousands of patients, allowing them to receive proportional compensation. In this scenario, the lawsuit would be filed against all the institutions collectively, and each entity would bear compensation according to its market share or the number of affected patients. It is important to note that due to the malfunction, incorrect information and medications appeared in some medical records, which complicates the situation further.
While the medical field has experienced past malfunctions, the scale of this failure is significant and has the potential to impact a large number of people. The use of technology in healthcare can bring both positive and negative consequences, making it crucial to address shortcomings promptly and transparently.
Lastly, concealing the malfunction for 10 days can be considered negligence or even a criminal offense, particularly when significant harm or fatalities occur. Claims of negligence or death due to negligence are undoubtedly possible in such cases, and the hope remains that no patients were harmed to such an extreme extent.
In conclusion, the severe malfunction in Israeli hospitals resulting in patients receiving incorrect medications has prompted legal and ethical concerns. The eligibility to sue and potential targets of such lawsuits are complex matters. The possibility of a class action lawsuit arises, providing a means for affected patients to pursue proportional compensation. Timely and transparent handling of such incidents is crucial to maintain public trust in the healthcare system.