MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE CLAIM IN MALAYSIA - AN OVERVIEW
Medical negligence refers to the failure of a healthcare professional to provide an appropriate level of care, resulting in harm or injury to the patient. In Malaysia, medical negligence claims have become increasingly common in recent years, with patients seeking compensation for injuries suffered due to the negligence of healthcare professionals. In this article, we will examine the legal framework for medical negligence claims in Malaysia and analyse some critical cases that have shaped this area of law.
Legal Framework for Medical Negligence Claims in Malaysia
The primary legislation governing medical negligence claims in Malaysia is the Civil Law Act 1956, which provides that a person who causes harm or injury to another person through negligence is liable for damages. This Act applies to all healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners.
In addition to the Civil Law Act, several other laws and regulations govern medical negligence claims in Malaysia. These include the Medical Act 1971, which establishes the Malaysian Medical Council and sets out the requirements for medical practice in the country, and the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998, which regulates private healthcare facilities and services.
To bring a medical negligence claim in Malaysia, a plaintiff must establish four elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. The plaintiff must show that the healthcare professional had a duty to provide a certain level of care, that this duty was breached, that this breach caused injury or harm, and that damages were suffered as a result.
Important Cases in Malaysian Medical Negligence Law
Over the years, several critical cases in Malaysian medical negligence law have helped shape the legal framework for these claims. One such case is Foo Fio Na v Dr Soo Fook Mun & Anor  1 MLJ 593, which involved a woman who suffered permanent brain damage during childbirth. The court found that the doctor who delivered the child had breached his duty of care by failing to monitor the woman's blood pressure, which led to her brain damage. The court awarded the woman damages of RM 5.2 million, one of the largest medical negligence payouts in Malaysian history.
Another key case is Abdul Wahab bin Abdul Rahman v Dr T. Kandasamy & Anor  1 LNS 246, which involved a man who suffered a stroke after being given an excessive dose of medication. The court found that the doctor prescribed the medication breached his duty of care by failing to assess the patient's condition and medical history properly. The court awarded the man damages of RM 300,000.
In both cases, the courts applied the four elements of a medical negligence claim – duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages – to reach their decisions. These cases illustrate the importance of healthcare professionals adhering to a high standard of care when treating patients and the significant consequences that can result when they fail to do so.
Medical negligence claims in Malaysia have become increasingly common in recent years as patients seek compensation for injuries suffered due to the negligence of healthcare professionals. The legal framework for these claims is based on the Civil Law Act 1956 and other laws and regulations and requires plaintiffs to establish a duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Critical cases in Malaysian medical negligence law have helped to shape this framework and illustrate the importance of healthcare professionals adhering to a high standard of care when treating patients. As healthcare evolves in Malaysia, medical negligence claims will likely play an essential role in protecting patients' rights and ensuring that healthcare professionals are held accountable for their actions.