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  • Avi Aporve Khanna

Medical Malpractice Cases in Turkey

1.Introduction

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 here.

4. What are the main legal steps for malpractice in Turkey?

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 difficult.

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 compensation case.

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 outcomes.

5. Conclusion

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 obligations.

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 complexities of a malpractice litigation only owing to a full-fledged consultation by healthcare law specialists.


Pi Legal Consultancy is an international law firm based in Ankara (Turkey) that offers legal consultancy and advocacy. Pacific Legal, a Canadian Business Law Firm, in collaboration with Pi Legal Consultancy aims todeliver legal services for clients in Turkey and Canada in key legal areas, among others, healthcare, real estate, citizenship, corporate governance, banking and finance, energy and mining, mergers and acquisitions.




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