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I. What is medical negligence?

Medical treatment in Hong Kong is generally of a very high standard and every year millions of people go through both the public and private healthcare systems. Medical practitioners (doctors, surgeons, physiotherapists, psychologists, dentists, nurses and health care assistants) provide an invaluable service to us; however, there can be times when even the highest trained medical professionals make mistakes in the treatment process.


Medical negligence is professional negligence resulting from an act or omission on the part of a health care provider in which the care provided deviates from accepted standards of medical practice and causes injury or death to the patient. Most cases involve medical error of some sort. In cases where an individual has undergone some form of medical treatment that has gone wrong whereby the level of care fell below the reasonable standard at which a competent medical professional should operate, there may be cause to bring a claim for compensation due to medical negligence.


When issues of medical negligence arise, the conduct and actions of the accused medical professional are weighed against the level of competency and professionalism his peers would have in the same or similar circumstances. It also means that if a general practitioner chooses to perform procedures normally performed by a specialist, he will be judged by the standards of the specialty in which he tried to act.


It is important to note that suing for medical negligence is not a tool to be used by those who are dissatisfied with the results of their medical care. Generally, you cannot claim that a medical professional has been negligent simply because the medical professional failed to cure a condition. A person claiming medical negligence must suffer some real harm that has been caused by a substandard level of medical care. The damage suffered must be harm that a patient would not have experienced if a medical professional or institution had acted properly and not acted negligently.