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First compensation from the Compensation Fund. How much is the benefit and who can get it?

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The first payments of benefits from the Medical Events Compensation Fund have started. Support of up to PLN 200,000 is addressed to patients or their relatives who have been injured as a result of medical errors. Material from the “Polska i Świat” magazine, prepared by Anna Wilczyńska.

Patient Ombudsman Bartłomiej Chmielowiec issued the first decisions under the Medical Event Compensation Fund. The injured received compensation ranging from PLN 80,000 to almost PLN 100,000, without proving the hospital's fault or going to court.

One of the first decisions of the Ombudsman concerned a girl who suffered complications as a result of limb extension surgery. – This complication resulted in paresis. This could have been avoided if a different treatment method had been used – explained Patient Ombudsman Bartłomiej Łukasz Chmielowiec.

Two further decisions concern health damage during hospital treatment National Health Fund. The next three are related to the patient's death.

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As Łukasz Chmielowiec describes, one of the stories concerns a person who “was hospitalized after a very serious car accident, but there she became infected with three different strains of bacteria.” As a result of infection and injuries, the man died, which could have been avoided. In this case, the immediate family received compensation.

Compensation Fund – what is the amount of the benefit?

The Compensation Fund is intended to make it easier to seek compensation for medical errors without going to court. – For bodily injury or health disorder, you can receive from PLN 2,000 to PLN 200,000, and for death, from PLN 20,000 to PLN 100,000 for each applicant. – explains the Patients' Rights Ombudsman.

– Wherever the solution of going to court has existed so far, you can obtain this amount of compensation faster and more efficiently. Pursuant to the Act, the Patient Ombudsman has 90 days to consider such a case – adds Jakub Gołąb, spokesman for the Ministry of Health.

When is money awarded from the Compensation Fund?

People who want to receive money from the fund should apply the application costs PLN 300. The case will then be dealt with by a team of experts from the Patient Ombudsman.

– My role is to assess, based on medical documentation, whether a medical event occurred, whether it could have been avoided and if it occurred, that is the end of the task – explains Prof. Andrzej Matyja, member of the expert team of the Patient Ombudsman.

For the benefit to be granted, the event must occur later than September 6, 2023. The exception is a situation where the patient learned about the damage only after this date.

Compensation Fund and more serious injuries

According to lawyers, the fund will speed up the pursuit of claims in the case of minor health damage. However, there will be people who will apply for larger amounts that are not covered by the above-mentioned support.

– In the case of larger injuries or more serious health damage, these courts will not be relieved of the burden because the maximum amount is PLN 200,000. Is this amount satisfactory in the case of a minor with polyplegia? Well, this is not a satisfactory amount at all – says Karolina Podsiadły Gęsikowska from the Lawyer of Doctor's office.

The current restrictions will mean that patients with more serious injuries will continue to fight for compensation in court. This, however, involves high costs, which will discourage many people from applying for compensation.

Author:Anna Wilczyńska, BC

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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