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NCHR raises red flag over ‘rising medical errors’ in Jordan’s hospitals

By Rayya Al Muheisen - Sep 20,2021 - Last updated at Sep 20,2021

AMMAN — The National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) expressed concern about the increasing number of medical errors reportedly occurring in healthcare facilities in Jordan.

“The main cause of medical errors is the lack of healthcare professionals at our healthcare facilities,” the NCHR said in a statement sent to The Jordan Times.

The statement added that the absence of deterrent sanctions, the lack of the medical staff competency and administrative supervision are the major challenges facing the healthcare system. 

Mustafa Manasrah, the president of the Jordanian Association for Protection Against Medical Error, told The Jordan Times that, “medical errors and negligence create a serious public health problem that poses a substantial threat to patient safety”.

Some practitioners who work at healthcare facilities are not qualified, he said, adding that misdiagnosis is a major challenge.

“Most patients do not report medical error cases because they believe that it was their ‘destiny’, in addition to the high cost of litigation,” Manasrah added.

Health professionals should be subject to legal liability if they commit a “preventable” medical mistake that poses long-term or life-threatening damage to a patient, Manasrah said, adding that this may help minimise the chances of a similar mistake in the future.

“Not all cases of medical errors that occur at our healthcare facilities are recorded,” said the NCHR statement. 

The NCHR highlighted in the statement that there are a number of important guidelines in place to prevent error and develop a culture of safety.  

The NCHR advises the government to review the Medical Errors Law 25 of 2018, redefine the term “medical error” and apply the harshest sanctions to prevent future errors.

“There are no statistics about the numbers of patients who have passed away due to medical error,” Mohammad Hellu, the NCHR’s spokesperson, told The Jordan Times. 

He said that this is largely due to the lengthy court processing time for medical error cases.

“One of the main reasons behind medical negligence is that there is a shortage of medical staff in public hospitals and the medical staff are underpaid, especially doctors”, an emergency doctor at a public hospital in Amman, who preferred to remain anonymous, told The Jordan Times. 

The doctor added that medical errors, delayed diagnoses and inadequate follow-up are some of the most common problems faced by Jordan’s hospitals.

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