MEDICAL ERRORS IN HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS IN CAMEROON: SETTING THE PLATFORM FOR LEGAL INTERVENTION
The right to good healthcare is a fundamental right to all human beings. Given that those to guarantee or provide this healthcare are fallible human beings, despite the best of training, skills, and vigilance, precaution, or preventive measures, medical errors still occur. These errors may occur due to misconduct, or ethical wrongs, negligence, and other medical malpractices. Medical practitioners often attach the adage “we tried our best but we could not make it, we are sorry”. Both this statement and the use of the word “errors” or “mistake” in medical diagnosis and treatment connotes at law lack of intention to bring or cause the outcome or consequence of the injury sustained by the patient as a result of the act of the practitioner. This seems to exonerate medical practitioners from liability even after pain has been inflicted or caused damage to the victims. The result is that, they at times go unpunished. There are numerous legislations both national and international to guide the practice and ethics of the medical field. However, patients or victims of these offences are less educated on their rights to good medical care and treatment and thus failed to understand that perpetrators of these medical malpractices can be held liable. The question then is: if at all they can be held liable, under what circumstances and what legal basis can they be held liable under the Cameroon law?