q Is Medical Malpractice a Human Rights Issue - Harcourt Health

Is Medical Malpractice a Human Rights Issue

Doctors have one of the most important and complex roles in our society, and that’s why we pay them the big bucks. However, when a doctor blatantly fails to live up to their oath as a healer, it can be life-changing or even fatal for their patients.

Medical malpractice occurs more than you may think, and its effects are often dire for the victims and their families. Furthermore, it damages the trust between health care providers and patients. So, is a violation of your patient’s rights also a violation of your indelible human rights? That’s the question we answer in this article.

What are the basic human rights?


We’re often vague when speaking about civil or human rights, but they must have a clear definition for us to protect them. That’s why it’s important to know the five basic rights you have merely for being born. Here are those rights according to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

  1. Right to Equality.
  2. Right to Life, Liberty, Personal Security.
  3. Freedom from Slavery
  4. Freedom from Torture and Degrading Treatment
  5. Right to Recognition as a Person before the Law

What do you do if you feel your civil rights have been violated?

Civil rights violations are usually cases of people with power misusing it to the detriment of people with less power, often making it hard for victims to get justice. However, many great lawyers specialize in civil rights and have great success fighting for their clients. 

Malliha Wilson, founder and senior counsel at Nava Wilson LLP, has been fighting for the civil rights of others for most of her legal career. Malliha is from Sri Lanka and was the first visible minority to serve on the Supreme Court of Canada. She knows what it’s like to struggle against the odds, which fuels her passion for protecting civil rights. 

What constitutes medical malpractice?


It’s important to note that doctors are human, and even they will make mistakes from time to time. However, their mistakes are more costly than mere spilled milk. However, not all medical errors amount to medical malpractice.

Malpractice is a legal term meaning a professional knowingly commits a negligent act such as deviating from established protocols, resulting in harm. Now, we’ll explore where human and patient rights intersect.

Where do malpractice and human rights intersect?

The patient right we discuss most is doctor/patient confidentiality. Other rights include the right to make medical decisions; respect and non-discrimination; and the right to truthful information regarding your health, facilities, health care plans, and more. 

Your malpractice claim could also be a violation of your civil rights if the negligence is malicious or based on discrimination. The first step to figuring out what kind of malpractice case you have is consulting a lawyer who’s handled notable cases like yours.

How can you protect your human and patient rights?


It’s important to know you have an uphill battle when you file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Even medical negligence cases are difficult to prove, and they don’t require an element of intent or “knowing” like malpractice claims.

Putting together a solid legal team is the best chance you have of getting justice for your medical malpractice/civil rights claim. You’ll need an experienced attorney with a great understanding of medical malpractice law. You’ll also need a civil rights attorney who knows how negligent acts can amount to a human rights violation.

People put their lives in health care professionals’ hands, and there’s no greater trust. But, when that trust is breached, it can have life-threatening consequences for the patient. Unfortunately, there are even cases when medical professionals act against the wishes of their patients. Indeed, sometimes the severity of medical negligence can rise to the level of a human civil rights violation.