Delhi doctors run to get liability insurance

The fear of litigation is not confined to the U.S.A. it seems, but has become a feature in professional life in India’s capital, Delhi as well, according to a Times of India report out recently.

Medical practitioners in Delhi’s hospitals and in general practice are being forced to pay out up to ten percent of their income each year to finance premiums for professional liability insurance to cover themselves against claims of negligence by unhappy patients, who apparently are much more likely to take doctors and specialists to court these days.

The majority of private hospitals in the nation’s capital, make it compulsory for all top doctors, surgeons and anaesthetists to have liability insurance in case of perceived human error. The actual real cases of negligence are reported to be extremely low, and the rush to ensure that top staff is insured comes because of the number of what are seen as frivolous cases by either patients themselves or their dissatisfied or opportunist relatives.

Without effective PI insurance cover, even if a case of negligence can be proven to be untrue, doctors or the hospitals themselves would have to pay court costs in their defence which could result in running up a bill well in excess of the cost of insurance premiums.

Both the hospitals and the staff who work in them usually take out separate policy agreements. The actual amount of premium depends on the experience of the doctors who are taking out the insurance cover as well as their level of seniority although most insurance policies normally cover only one claim per year. Doctors and hospitals have to take out separate policies each year.

The insurance policies normally cover for legal fees and court costs as well as any other expenses which may be incurred during an investigation into alleged negligence at the hands of a doctor. In the event of malpractice, misdiagnosis or misjudgment the policy covers for any additional medical costs or for injury or death due to proven negligence.

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