Should doctors be held criminally responsible for malpractice?
This is a question that concerns a proposal by Taiwan’s new Minister of Health and Welfare to revise the current medical malpractice law stipulating that doctors are held criminally responsible for medical malpractice.
The minister believes that “only doctors who intentionally cause death or injury to patients should be held criminally responsible”, and that “doctors who unintentionally cause death or injury to patients” should not be held criminally responsible.
A Yahoo Taiwan survey of 5,800 responses conducted on November 7-10, 2017, shows that 55.7% think that “doctors who unintentionally cause death or injury to patients should not be held criminally responsible”, 40.9% think “they should still should be held criminally responsible”, 3.4% say “do not know”.
If doctors are not held criminally responsible for malpractice, a “non-litigation mechanism should be established to resolve medical conflicts between doctors and patients”. The survey asked: “Do you think this would be suitable in Taiwan’s present society?” 61.5% say “suitable”, 30.1% say “not suitable” and 8.4% say “do not know”. The survey involved 69.6% men and 30.4% women, 57% of them live in northern Taiwan where medical service is easily available, and the sampling consisted of 10.5% who are 31-35 years old, 15.6% who are 36-40 years old, 18.4% who are 41-45 years old, 14.7% who are 46-50 years old, 13.4% who are 51-55 years old, and 15.9% who are over 55 years old.