Albert Quashigah, a private legal practitioner, says it is very important that patients exercise their right to ask questions during their hospital visits. He noted that healthcare providers are also obligated to provide answers.
He further emphasized that this right has significant legal consequences, empowering patients to gather essential information about their medical procedures and take action if something goes wrong.
During his appearance on Citi TV‘s legal education show, “A Question of Law,” Mr. Quashigah passionately advocated for patients to be proactive in seeking information about their medical treatment.
He stated, “When you step into a hospital, whether for yourself or a loved one, remember that you have the right to ask questions. It is your right to inquire about what the doctors and nurses are doing to you or your loved one. Importantly, hospitals have a duty to answer your questions. Failing to provide answers carries legal consequences. By asking questions, you not only gain information about the procedures you are undergoing, but you also empower yourself to tackle any issues that may arise.”
The legal expert also acknowledged the challenges patients face when it comes to gathering evidence for medical negligence claims, especially in an era dominated by electronic systems where most procedures occur beyond the direct involvement of patients.
He explained, “Establishing evidence for a medical negligence claim is an uphill battle, especially in hospitals where patients have limited access to information. With the increasing use of electronic systems, many processes happen behind the scenes. In the past, physical copies of test results would have been handed to you, but now they are mostly stored within the hospital’s system. This poses significant difficulties in gathering evidence to support a medical negligence claim.”
Despite these challenges, he urged patients to take action.
He noted that patients could petition a court to order the release of necessary documents, highlighting that it might not be a simple process due to the potential for tampering by hospitals seeking to escape liability.
However, he encouraged patients to be aware of the legal principle of “res ipsa loquitur,” which means “the thing speaks for itself.” In cases where the evidence is self-evident, minimal additional proof is required to establish negligence.