Arab News – There were 2,778 cases of alleged medical errors referred to legal health committees across the country for consideration over the past year, with the most at 620 recorded in the Eastern Province.
A recent government report stated there were 3,455 judicial proceedings, with Riyadh having the most at 1,094 lawsuits. Najran recorded an average of 9.9 court sessions for each verdict reached.
The report stated that these committees issued 889 rulings, the majority in Riyadh at 185 verdicts, according to a report in a local newspaper.
In the Eastern Province, 544 cases were referred to the local committee, of which 377 cases were carried over from the year before. About 1.9 sessions were needed to reach verdicts, which amounted to 288 sessions and 165 rulings.
In Ahsa, there were 77 referred cases, of which 50 were carried over from the year before, while 32 verdicts were issued in 189 sessions, or 5.9 sessions per verdict.
Ali bin Mohammed Al-Qurashi, a legal counselor and international arbitrator, said legal health committees were formed under Article 33 of the health professions law last year.
Under the legislation, these committees are considered independent courts specializing in medical malpractices. Currently there are 19 across the Kingdom, in seven regions and provinces, each chaired by a judge of first rank nominated by the Ministry of Justice.
Each committee consists of three competent and qualified consultant doctors, one of them nominated by the Minister of Education from a medical school of a Saudi university, the other two nominated by the Minister of Health, two pharmacists and a legal counselor.
The law for health practitioners was issued to protect patients from medical errors, and stipulated punishment according to the gravity of the violation, with liability for civil and/or criminal responsibility.
All health practitioners should have insurance policies with a certified insurance company, according to a source quoted by the publication.

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