The Online Journal of Clinical Audits, Vol 8, No 4 (2016)

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Medicolegal awareness amongst health professionals in Sudan - where are we now?

Abdelmoneim Elamin Kheir, Mohamed Dafaalla, Asmaa Bashir, Nazik Abuelgasim, Ihab Abdalrahman


Aims There has been growing public concern regarding the ethical conduct of healthcare professionals. This is often reflected as complaints about poor ethical conduct and an increasing use of litigation against healthcare practitioners. The main objectives of this research were to assess the knowledge and perceptions of health workers on ethics, confidentiality and medico-legal issues.

Methods This was a descriptive cross sectional study that was carried out among doctors of different grades and specialties in Soba University Hospital, during the period of March-April 2016. 200 doctors were invited to participate in the study. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire that was pretested. Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) – version 22 software.

Frequency analysis for background variables was conducted, Chi square test was used to study the association between clinical rank and elements of medico-legal awareness. P value was set at 0.05 level of significance.

Results The main results showed that more than 90% of the respondents believed that patient medical information may not be disclosed to anyone, 98.5% believed that hospitals are legally bound to maintain records and 94.5% agreed that hospitals should keep records until medico-legal cases are judged. Regarding informed consent, 99% of the respondents believed that informed consent is required if a patient has to undergo an operation. There was consensus about not attending a patient during an emergency and leaving objects at site of operation where more than 90% of respondents agreed that this is a punishable act. On the other hand, there was considerable variation in the other elements of medical negligence.

Conclusions Knowledge of health workers on ethics, confidentiality and medico-legal issues is high and their perceptions are positive.



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