Note: This is Part 2 of Dr. Herring’s observations during a recent international assignment. Part 1 explained medical training and a doctor’s progression through the medical ranks.
About the practice of medicine
In general – No malpractice, sort of. If a complaint comes up, a government-appointed board decides whether to pay the patient/family some money for damages based on the merits of the case, and may take disciplinary action against the MD if indicated. This is ‘socialized’ medicine, so all residents and citizens get their care covered, but they have to pay for some things. For example, $20 to see your GP, or maybe $5-15 for some drugs (drugs are cheaper everywhere outside the US).
Emergency Department – Similar to working in American EDs about 20 years ago, as far as I can tell. On the minus side, you might have to wait up to four hours for a CXR because the radiographer is tied up in theatre. Also, you might have to convince a radiologist that a CT scan is really is necessary. On the plus side, you can make a clinical diagnosis without having to ‘rule-out’ everything under the sun with expensive tests to avoid litigation. Also, patients referred to the hospital for surgical or medical consultations are seen by those services in the ED and will only ask for your help if they need you.