New Zealand doctor removing suspicious lump from man's neckA doctor in New Zealand seriously injured a patient when he accidentally severed a nerve in the patient’s neck while trying to remove a suspicious lump. The doctor failed to perform with the skill and care that the patient deserved, and that he failed to fully inform the patient before beginning the procedure that he had limited experience with this type of surgery. The man has had to undergo several major surgeries in order to correct the injury.

Medical Malpractice Does Not Exist In New Zealand

National Flag of New ZealandNew Zealand is one of several countries (the other being Sweden) that does not allow its citizens to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit in a traditional manner. Instead of filing a lawsuit against the doctor themselves, injured people file a claim with the Accident Compensation Corporation, a government agency that determines whether or not a doctor has committed malpractice. The system is designed to compensate injured people quickly and it allows doctors to work without the constant fear of being sued.

Is New Zealand’s System Better?

New Zealand Medical Malpractice SystemThe jury is still out on whether or not New Zealand’s system is better than the American system. Some argue that it is better because the system can pay injured people for injuries that were not caused by negligence, unlike the American system. Others argue that failing to hold individual doctors responsible for their negligence could lead to doctors performing complicated medical procedures with less caution, ultimately resulting in more injuries. Some disagree with the system due to increased costs on taxpayers. The New Zealand system has been in place since the 1970’s, and is still viewed as a bit of an experiment throughout the rest of the world.

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