Due to the fact that Turkey is attempting to become a member of the European Union, they have started following the development of their Western neighbors in terms of patient care and patient rights. Before 1998, the Turkish patient rights law was not pro-patient but rather, it kept physicians safe from any malpractice suits.
Since Turkey has signed with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), their statute on patient rights has been revised to those similar with the Western legislation. However, application of these principles is not up to pace with the current practices within local hospitals in Turkey. Which is why the European Court of Human Rights Order Turkey to Pay Medical Negligence Fees to patients who are victims of malpractice.
In the past, malpractice cases were almost non-existent in Turkey due to the lack of private hospitals, and the fact that cases were filed against the administration of the hospital rather than the physician responsible. This practice was the norm in Turkey which resulted in the lack of statistical data related to physician errors that have occurred within the last two decades. Turkish patients are also unaware of their rights to protection because of this biased bureaucracy which eliminates the chances of holding physicians liable for their mistakes.
The European Court of Human Rights Order Turkey to Pay Medical Negligence Fees and provide Turkish citizens with the protection and rights they were never given. Due to the sudden shift in stance, the number of malpractice suits has increased in the past 5 years.
Some of the notable cases that were awarded £35,000 were mostly given to permanently disabled patients. These patients either lost a limb or is living with an incurable disease. One of the high-profile cases in 1996, was with a baby boy diagnosed with an inguinal and umbilical hernia during birth, due to his age and the severity of his situation, the child had multiple surgeries done.
The blood for transfusions used during the time were acquired from the Turkish Red Cross by the patient’s father, with medical negligence solicitors investigating the whole process.
Four months later, the baby boy they thought was healthy contracted the HIV Virus through the blood used in the transfusions. No one was held accountable until ECHR stepped in. During the hearing, the government of Turkey provided the court with evidence stating that the blood used in the transfusion has gone through the necessary screening procedures including HIV testing, however, due to the fact the donor was tested during the window phase of infection undetected. A criminal case has been filed against doctors and laboratory personnel involved in the transfusion process.
More recent cases include misdiagnosis, incorrect dosage of medication and incorrect amputation of limbs all resulting into permanent disability of their patients. In the ruling last October 23, 2018, the European Court of Human Rights Order Turkey to Pay Medical Negligence Fees for non-pecuniary damages over the violation of the European Convention on Human Right which states “everyone’s right to life shall be protected by the law.” Turkey’s Ministry of Health is not equipped to handle all the cases of negligence. The volume of cases has doubled in the recent years and it is only fitting that the European Court of Human Rights intervene to help the citizens of Turkey get the justice they need.