Get to know of what the law says about medical negligence in Kenya and how to handle such case: Medical negligence is when a medical practitioner acts in a way that violates the code of medical ethics. As a result, the medical practitioner’s negligence cause harm or death to their patient.
In Kenya, Medical negligence is rampant though there are few cases of reporting due to poverty and ignorance of the law. Here is a brief overview on the law on medical negligence in Kenya.
What Does the Law Say About Medical Negligence in Kenya?
Article 43 of the Kenyan Constitution holds that everyone has the right to receive the best standards of health. This includes the right to get health care services such as reproductive health care. The Article further states that no one should be denied emergency health care.
Cases of Medical Negligence in Kenya
Some of the cases that amount to medical negligence include:
- Delays in attending to patients in hospitals
- Doctors failing to treat patients when called upon
- Doctors engaging in procedures that harm patients instead of curing them
- Doctors performing hysterectomy without reasonable consent
- Doctors administering wrong medication, incorrect diagnosis, and performing inappropriate surgery procedures
- Doctors or nurses failing to manage labor correctly resulting in complications such as stillbirths
What Oaths Are Medical Practitioners Supposed to Uphold?
According to the Kenyan Constitution, there are a set of oaths that medical practitioners should uphold to ensure they administer the recommended standards of health care to patients. Failing to uphold these oaths is attributed with medical negligence. Some of the oaths practitioners are bound by include:
- Respect human life
- Give the right prescription
- Consider the health of the patient when administering any treatment
- Doctor-patient confidentiality
- Not using their medical knowledge to infringe on a patient’s human rights or civil liberties
- Practice their profession with dignity and conscience
A patient can pursue legal action against a health facility or health practitioner if they believe that there is a case of medical negligence. The patient only has to prove that the health facility or practitioner breached any of the above oaths in the execution of their duties.