The Claims Team at MIGA receive in excess of 3,000 calls per annum for advice. These are generally contacts from members and clients where there is no claim for compensation or complaint, but help or advice is needed to sort a medico-legal problem.
Here are a few examples:
A female doctor was having a break from paid employment as she cared for her three-month-old baby. Some years prior, as part of her training, she had completed a rotation in the paediatric department of a large teaching hospital.
She was recently contacted by the hospital and sent a subpoena, which had been received by the hospital requesting the doctor attend court to give evidence.
The doctor could not recall the case (not surprisingly) and was living some 300km from the court. She sought advice on her legal obligation to attend.
The doctor was advised about the court rules associated with the service of subpoenas. Not all of the rules had been complied with including the requirement to provide conduct money. In this instance, we wrote to the party who had issued the subpoena setting out the conduct money requirements to facilitate attendance. This included a request for upfront payment for costs for travel, accommodation and engagement of a nanny.
On the after-hours line we were contacted by a doctor working in the adolescent health unit of a major teaching hospital. The patient was 14 years of age and suffered chronic anorexia nervosa. Her metabolic situation was stable (had improved during hospitalisation) but remained severe. Ongoing hospitalisation was recommended.
The patient’s parents were keen for the patient’s discharge against medical advice. The plan was for the patient to travel overseas with the parents for treatment.
We discussed the doctor’s mandatory reporting obligations pursuant to child protection legislation and police report. We also spoke about documentation, contact with airlines and further contact with the patient and her parents to advise on the patient’s critical medical needs.
Another situation recently dealt with was a doctor who contacted us as she felt very threatened by a patient who was dissatisfied with his surgical outcome. The doctor was of the view the patient had an obsessive personality. Concerns were raised about defamatory comments being made by the patient about the doctor in the local community. In addition there were safety concerns for the doctor and her staff consequent on the patient’s behaviour.
We discussed strategies to minimise these concerns including police reports, court applications to formally prevent the patient from being within a declared vicinity of the doctor and how to manage some of the horrible social media postings.
The practice of medicine in 2019 and beyond brings with it many challenges, not all medical.
We are very proud of the quality of advice and prompt and professional service we provide.
The medico-legal sphere is broad and challenging and MIGA is here to help for all matters, big and small.
Please do not hesitate to call if there is any matter at all you would like to discuss.