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Medical accidents

Accidents will happen, as the saying goes. The medical world is no exception. In spite of the best-laid plans of mice and men, victims of medical errors often face enormous difficulties when it comes to asserting their rights, and from another angle "medical liability" is every caregiver's nightmare.

It is against this background that on 31 March 2010 the legislator set up the Fund for Medical Accidents (in Dutch, the Fonds voor Medische Ongevallen, or FMO). The aim of this initiative was to ensure that victims applying for compensation would no longer be required to prove in every case that the healthcare provider had committed a medical error. The problem was not only that this placed a heavy burden of proof on the victim, but also that this approach was not always good for caregivers either, as more often than not they were left stigmatised.

It is for this reason that a "no fault" arrangement was introduced. The system is referred to by the Dutch abbreviation MOZA (which stands for Medical Accident Without Liability). When this system was introduced, the legislator decided to continue to apply the existing fault-based liability arrangement, which means that in addition to MOZA, the former system referred to as Medical Accident With Liability, or MOMA, continued to exist. As a result, in spite of the stigmatisation that this causes, it is still possible to prosecute caregivers under criminal law for unintentional injuries.

In short, in spite of the introduction of MOZA and the FMO, medical accidents can still raise complex legal issues. It is simply that there are now more options on the table. In principle, a more individual case-by-case approach is now possible. Sounds complicated? It's all in a day’s work for GSJ, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.

GSJ's teams have been closely monitoring these developments for many years. Indeed, when on 6 September 2013 Prof. Dr. Thierry Vansweevelt requested that the University of Antwerp establish the Antwerp Health Law and Ethics Chair (AHLEC), GSJ decided to sponsor the initiative. The purpose of this Chair is to investigate all kinds of potential issues that can arise in the field of health law and health ethics. To this day we have continued to lend our active support to this much-valued initiative. From the very outset Johan Bally and Gert Geerts have been on the steering committee of this prestigious Chair.

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GSJ can be reached by telephone from Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 6 pm.

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Tel.: +32 (0)3 232 50 60
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E-mail: info@gsj.be
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