Sun, Apr 19, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Increasing lawsuits compels doctors to study law in school

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

An increasing number of physicians are beginning to study law, a Taipei Veterans General Hospital physician said yesterday.

“These doctors spend time studying law because they need it, not because they’re interested in the subject,” Ke Chin (葛謹), a physician at the hospital’s Department of Internal Medicine told a seminar at the hospital.

The seminar was aimed at sharing experiences and offering solutions for doctors to protect themselves in court should they face legal action.

He said the number of lawsuits concerning medical affairs was on the rise. These suits can become a burden for doctors, but most will not admit they’ve ever been sued.

“Being sued is something a doctor will not admit, because it can have an impact on his reputation,” Ke said.

Ke said more than 30 doctors in Taiwan had studied law, of whom six had passed the bar. The number of “doctors-lawyers” is increasing.

“We, as doctors, need to know how to protect ourselves when it comes to court,” Ke said.

A total of 119 students — including himself — graduated from Taipei Medical University at the same time, Ke said. About 60 have been sued, while six were convicted.

Former Bureau of Medical Affairs chief Hsueh Jui-yuan’s (薛瑞元) case was used as an example.

Hsueh was sued by a patient who had been through different surgeries performed by different doctors, including Hsueh.

The patient sued Hsueh because a swab was discovered in his stomach after the surgeries, which the patient believed was Hsueh’s doing.

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