4. MEDICAL & DENTAL DEFENCE CAN KILL YOU ! ( in more ways than one! )
ALL DOCTORS & DENTAL SURGEONS BEWARE !!!
Now, how likely are health professionals like yourselves to be sued by their patients? Current views, to say the least, are very confusing, being as follows:
a. Increasing litigation, leading to increased premiums (Nisselle 1995)
b. Decreasing claims experience, leading to reduced rates (Lilienthal 1995)
c. The actual risk of being sued is much lower than the perceived risk of litigation......there is NO malpractice crisis in Australia (Tito 1994)
d. A GP may expect to go his practising lifetime without being sued (Kearney 1996)
Note that the premiums for GPs vary from $1800 to $8000, depending on your Medical Defence Organisations (MDOs). Further, note "The benefits of membership may (or may not!) include indemnity, advice, assistance and education ... the benefits are discretionary (emphasis added) and are all subject to the Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A)" - Lilienthal 1993. How could this happen when legally you are co-owners of your MDO, a "friendly society, a non-profit organisation" (Lilienthal) and mutual fund just like NRMA, AMP ?!
But the NRMA and AMP provide compulsory cover at all times, not at their whim and fancy!
Question 1. Did your MDO send you a copy of its M & A?
Question 2. Are you fully aware that you may not receive any benefit?
Be warned: Under your existing contract with your MDO, your right to be defended (against claims for damages) and to receive effective, ethical counselling could be denied. Worse, you might, unknowingly, be party to a conspiracy to defraud your patients (which could see you behind bars for 7 years). Having read Medical Negligence Law for many years, I believe that some doctors sued by their patients had committed suicide as a result of breach of fiduciary duties by their MDOs. You would, in such unjust situation, suffer deep melancholy, professional impairment, partnership disasters and bankruptcy. Suicide might then appear the only way out.
In this regard, you may be the next Victim of Injustice. To stop professional suicides (and 'compassionate' homicides of family members), please, for your own and the security of your loved ones, write to your MDO today and insist that it:
a. Provides you with obligatory indemnity insurance; failing that, the circumstances when cover is excluded should be clearly spelt out in its M & A.
b. Sends you a copy of the appropriate M & A before you renew your membership (and read carefully the small prints; note how often the word 'MAY' appears - in contrast with 'SHALL' !!)
c. Does not rewrite Medicine to defend the indefensible (Ooi v Smith, Assunta Hosp 1985)
d. Does not redraft its M & A to deny you your rights (Ooi v MDU 1989,)
e. Assesses its own role in Medical Suicides of defendant-doctors (Ooi 1992)
Please send copies of this note to your members, partners and associates. As a Justice of the Peace and a Consultant for Human Rights Australia, I am committed to ethical medical and dental defence that does not cause medical/dental suicides and/or bankruptcy.
If that is the type of Medical /Dental Defence or Protection you want, write or phone your MDO today! And kindly keep me informed so that I may approach Federal Health Minister responsible for MDOs.
Please rest assured that your patients respect you and do not sue at the drop of a hat in whatever State you practise, though your MDOs might like you to believe otherwise. I trust that you believe in and expect ethical medical / Dental defence. Its a fine line between that and Medical / Dental Deception. Avoid that like the plague. Do Crime, Do Time. And - Let Justice be done though the Heavens fall !
For now and the future, Best Wishes to you, your family, staff and patients. It is vital that you discuss the contents of this letter with your loved ones whose safety depends on the legality and ethics of medical and dental defence your MDOs provide you. I thank you in anticipation of your kind response - whether suggestion, support or valid criticism.
Lilienthal, Craig; Medical Defence Union (Australian Doctor, 13 Jan 95, page 1)
Lilienthal, Craig; Membership Kit including Letter and Correction, dated 21 Dec 93
Kearney, Megan. United Medical Defence Journal, Spring 1996, page 6
Nisselle, Paul; Medical Protection Society ( (Australian Doctor, 13 Jan 95, page 1)
Ooi, P L; Ooi v Smith (MDU), Assunta Hospital, Church (1985)
Ooi, T T; Ooi v MDU (1989)
Ooi, Cary; Consumer Watchdog has GP Adviser; Australian Doctor Weekly, 12 June 1992, 38
Tito, Fiona; Chair, Professional Indemnity Review (Executive Summary 1994)
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