A stiff fine administered usually sends a signal to others in the community not to repeat that same mistake, and will hopefully result in a decrease in the number of offences of a similar nature (Let's be fair to doctors who make honest mistakes, March 13).
However, a stiff fine for an honest mistake not of an egregious nature by a doctor will send a signal to doctors to practice defensive medicine, which, ultimately, would add to the cost of healthcare.
It is a form of retributive justice, far from the results of reparative justice that a patient might want to see.
Just as how couples in certain divorce cases have to go through mandatory mediation before appearing before the judge, a system of mandatory mediation should be introduced for such medical cases as well.
As an accredited mediator who has mediated a number of medical cases before, I can say that with mediation, because the patient is involved in the process itself, it is easier for the patient to find closure and achieve a form of reparative justice if required, and if indeed there was an honest mistake.
Ronald Paul Ng (Dr)