It is clear that the matter of malpractice is still the main
challenging issue for every single malpractice lawyer in Turkey.
Law contains binding rules that govern the rights and
responsibilities of medical staff, health workers, medical
companies and the people using medical facilities and services.
This article analyzes the meaning of medical malpractice and the
best legal ways of finalizing malpractice disputes. Other
healthcare issues are beyond the scope of this article.
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2. What is the meaning of “medical malpractice”?
Medical malpractice may take place because of “a negligent
mistake” or “below the standard of care”. The term
means any failure, mistake or unreasonable delay in, amongst
others, diagnosing a patient’s situation, giving wrong
prescriptions or making unnecessary or wrong surgeries.
3. How can we measure a doctor’s performance?
There are two main sources for highlighting occupational
responsibilities of healthcare professionals in Turkey. First, the
Hippocratic Oath and second, Turkish legal framework.
The Hippocratic Oath contains ethical principles particularly
for medical professionals. Pursuant to these principles, doctors
should do the best for treating patients and respecting or
preserving the privacy of them.
It is significant to state here that the Hippocratic Principles
are not legally binding; albeit morally binding rules. Accordingly,
only concrete legal norms have a capacity to fill this gap.
Turkey has a comprehensive legal framework intended to govern
the rights and liabilities of doctors or other providers. Indeed
there are a wide variety of regulations and laws dedicated to the
healthcare sector in Turkey. Besides, established case-law of
justice institutions make a substantial contribution to better
implementation of Turkish legislations.
All Turkish legal instruments (in Turkish) are available online
4. What are the main legal steps for malpractice in
Malpractice cases generally result from the underperformance of
medical specialists. For any kind of application, the nature of
underperformance should be well researched and documented. It
should be emphasized that this job is far from simple. Especially
responding to the question of who is accountable and the question
of which act or action and ignorance is problematic is very
Domestic legal framework contains leading rules that structure
what relevant staff should do, and what they may not do for an
appropriate treatment service. Nevertheless, after detecting
inappropriate treatment or the person acting in an improper manner,
another challenge arises out. In this respect, jurisdiction has
been a matter of concern for every single healthcare lawyer.
4.1. What are the main types of malpractice cases?
In general, where malpractice action takes place under the
umbrella of a state hospital and/or a hospital belonging to the
public, the victim can lodge an application before the
administrative justice. In that case, malpractice is regarded as
constituting a “service fault”. This should be a
But if malpractice results from an action of a private person or
entity, the relevant person may be issued before judicial justice.
In this situation, malpractice means an “individual
fault”. Doctors, nurses, surgeons, physicians, psychiatrists,
dentists or allied health workers may be regarded as
“accused” or “suspected” in a criminal case.
But it is very critical to be aware that victims have a right to
bring a compensation action before judicial justice, too.
Institution of the right application before the right judicial
body plays a key role in satisfying the victim. Any mistake at this
stage may have a crippling impact on reaching proper legal
In the final analysis, it is worth reiterating that the
Hippocratic Oath presents main moral principles to be undertaken by
healthcare workers. But, the said Oath is not law. Accordingly,
national healthcare systems need more than this to draw legal
borders of medical liabilities. In this respect, the Turkish legal
healthcare regime is designed to a broad range of principles
including the Hippocratic Oath and other additional legal
There is no doubt that medical professionals are found
accountable for their underperformance in
Turkey.However, the search for improper treatment,
the detection of underperformance of medical staff, the
determination of the accountable person and the selection of a
competent judicial body present main challenges for victims and
their families. Even any malpractice lawyer may face enormous
problems for any malpractice dispute because of its complexitiy.
Accordingly, malpractice cases need extensive legal advice for
every single stage of the concerned legal process. Victims or their
families may handle difficulty of a malpractice litigation only
owing to a full-fledged consultation by healthcare law
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.