Medical compensation

Q378 :A relative of mine died as a result of excessive bleeding during childbirth. Is it permissible, from the Islamic point of view, for the relatives to receive compensation from the doctors attending her, who could not save her despite their best efforts?

A378 : The most important phrase in the question is that which concerns the doctors doing their best in trying to save their patient. If this is true, then the death was something they could not prevent, and there was no negligence on their part. In this case, compensation would be unfair to ask for and receive. The case would be different if there was a proven element of negligence on the part of the doctors. Suppose, for example that the bleeding started, say, at two o'clock in the morning and no doctor was available in the hospital to attend to the patient. Suppose also that despite the attempts by the mid-wife to contact doctors in their homes, no one was available until a few hours later. Such a situation would be far less than what is reasonably expected in a maternity hospital. The efforts the doctors would put at such a later stage would arguably be of little effect. Therefore, one can say that there is an element of negligence there, and compensation to the family of the dead patient would be reasonable. What you have to do now is to determine whether there has been any element of negligence on the part of doctors in the case of your relative's death. If there was negligence, you may ask for compensation.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )