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Assistance in Medical Dispute

I. What is a medical dispute?

1. A medical accident is an unfortunate, unexpected result during the treatment caused by the medical staff or the patient (for example; diathesis).

2. Medical Malpractice is a medical action caused by an ignorance of responsibilities by the medical staff according to their medical knowledge and skills at the time that results in an inadequate outcome for the patient. Medical Negligence implies legal responsibilities from the medical malpractice caused by ignorance or negligence of medical responsibilities. All Medical Negligence is always Medical Malpractice, but all medical malpractices are not instances of Medical Negligence. Medical Accident

3. A Medical Dispute is a legal argument related to the medical activities when the medical staff and the patient cannot agree on the cause of the medical malpractice, whether it is due to medical negligence or an unusual constitution on the part of the patient.

II. Preparations to Prevent Medical Disputes

1. Verify if the incentive institute or the agent is registered with the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
⇒ It is strongly recommended to verify that the broker who introduces a medical institute and/or the medical institutes where the patient will receive treatment are registered according to the law of the attraction of foreign patients. It can be verified online at

2. Have you gotten a full explanation in detail?
⇒ It is the responsibility of the medical staff of the institute to have a complete understanding of the treatment that the patient will receive and its possible side effects, if any, and to provide a full explanation of their knowledge to the patient. Make sure that you have received adequate explanation from the medical staff on the medical treatment you will receive and any side effects before you sign the contract or informed consent, before receiving treatment.

3. Did you check if the doctors at the medical institute are specialists or if the institute is equipped with a safety system?
⇒ Please check if the doctors at the medical institute who provide medical services are specialists. Also, check if nurse assistants, medical technicians, interpreters, and other staff in the institute understand the regulations surrounding the treatment of foreign patients, in order to prevent medical disputes. It is important to ensure the safety of systems such as blood handling and bio-waste management.

4. Explain your situation to the medical staff honestly and in great detail!
⇒ Let the medical staff know of any allergies and the patient’s medical history, and pay attention to how much the medical staff understands the patient’s physical and personal characteristics!

5. Prevention of a Medication Accident
⇒ It is important for the patient to understand completely when they have prescriptions and to receive instructions regarding those medications. Please ask the medical staff to give a detailed explanation and written instructions with medications to prevent any medical accidents related to prescribed medications.

* Five rights of medication administration : Right patient, Right medication, Right dose, Right route, Right time

6. Confirm that the method of how to resolve a medical dispute is manifested in the contract.
⇒ Please make sure that the medical institute practices emergency communications or a convenience system for patients just in case of a medical emergency, and that the procedures and the methods for the medical dispute are manifested in the contract in detail.

Example: If a legal dispute occurs, the hospital and patient will first try to come to mutual agreement individually. In the case of disputes unable to be settled, both parties will abide by the arbitration of the ‘Korea Medical Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Agency’, which has been established in Article 43 of the Korean Medical Dispute Mediation law.

- Source: Korea Medical Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Agency ( http://www.k-medi.or.kr/ )

III. Handling the events after a Medical Dispute

When a patient becomes a victim of a medical accident, the patient can pursue the following actions:

① A direct agreement with the medical staff (and/or the institute)

② A request for mediation or arbitration to the Medical Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Agency

③ An initiation of a legal suit Handling the events after a Medical Dispute

There is no ranking between these three options. However, a request for mediation or arbitration to the Medical Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Agency can save time and costs over legal suits.

- Source: Korea Medical Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Agency ( http://www.k-medi.or.kr/ )