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Medical Errors in Greece: An Economic Analysis of Compensations Awarded by Civil Courts (2000-2009)

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DOI: 10.4236/ojapps.2014.44017    3,361 Downloads   4,747 Views Citations


Medical errors are reported with increased frequency both in Europe and in the United States of America and measures are put in place to deal with the problem. In Greece, more and more patients think that it is likely to experience a medical error during health care delivery and the organizations they can turn to if this happens are hardly enough and with meagre response. The consequences of medical errors are multiple and complex with significant financial implications. Nowadays there is an urgent need to resolve problems that refer to cost containment in the Greek Health System. Some research findings from the review of 128 compensations awarded by civil courts for the years 2000 to 2009 for medical errors in Greece are quite interesting. The mean compensation amounted to €292,613 representing 35.41% of claimed compensation. Only a small proportion of medical errors gain publicity as the majority of claims get settled out of court, covered by the insurance policy or the hospitals. The burden of the obvious and hidden cost affects not only the patient, his family and the hospital but also the whole of the society. This comes from our estimation that the level of compensation awarded by the civil courts for medical errors is remarkable high. Unfortunately only some estimates of the cost are possible due to the lack of statistical data. The creation of an independent oversight body for the review of medical errors and complaints nationwide as well as the modernization of the hospitals’ monitoring systems is necessary in order to handle the medical error phenomenon. Above all, cooperation and trust between patients, health care professionals, hospital managers, medical boards and the government are essential to get to the root of the problem.

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Riga, M. , Vozikis, A. and Pollalis, Y. (2014) Medical Errors in Greece: An Economic Analysis of Compensations Awarded by Civil Courts (2000-2009). Open Journal of Applied Sciences, 4, 168-175. doi: 10.4236/ojapps.2014.44017.

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