Medical Negligence June 15, 2006Posted by fukumimi in crime, Japan, law, Uncategorized.
Three doctors who were working at the Jikei University School of Medicine's Aoto Hospital, Taro Hasegawa, 37, Jun Madarame, 40, and Shigetaka Maeda, 35 have all been found guilty of professional negligence resulting in death, in the case of the death of a 60 year old man who underwent an operation at the hospital.
Suspended sentences of 24 to 30 months were handed down citing that other members of the hospital were complicit in the patient's death.
It is shocking that the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare sanction for Hasegawa and Madarame was just a 2 year suspension of their license (imposed in Mar 2004, so theoretically they could be practicing already). Both were fired by the hospital. Maeda got a 10 day suspension from the hospital, theMinistry of Health, Labour and Welfare has not imposed any sanction on him.
The doctors, or, indeed the hospital, had absolutely no experience in laparoscopic surgery which was attempted on the victim.
There was an attempted cover-up, and the hospital initially lied to the family of the victim.
These doctors who (tried to) put their own careers ahead of the welfare of the patient need to have their medical licenses revoked permanently.
Japanese doctors are well protected from legal claims, and the relevant ministry(the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare) and the Japan Medical Association (a strong political lobby looking out first and foremost for its members, Hippocratic oath be damned, apparently), are extremely lenient in their treatment of doctors who have committed serious (and often, multiple) cases of negligence. Hospitals have been known to organise cover-ups, and destroy or modify patient records.
Japanese doctors (especially surgeons and senior administrators) often get cash gifts from their patients or their families, money which is not usually declared. It is partly the fault of patients who allow this scheme to be perpetuated.
The Japanese medical system and its legal oversight is in need of a major overhaul.
We need to out doctors who are unfit for the job, and drive them out of the profession. We also need to keep an eye out for doctors such as those involved in this case, and make sure they never get the chance to kill again. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and the JMA need to realise that the Japanese public will no longer accept preferential treatment for doctors.
Doctors are no longer untouchable. Same goes for the other professions which were traditionally granted its members automatic social standing and respect from the community.
So many cases of doctors, teachers, politicians (what do these professions have in common? they were and still are addressed using the honorific "sensei") commiting professional misconduct or engaging in activities which are incompatible with the moral integrity required of these professions…..