KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 – There are many issues in the way for the medically disabled to move on in life here in the country, says the Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society (MHAS).
A proper system needs to be formulated to improve the system of assessing disabilities, damages, and the processing of claims related to road traffic accidents and other injuries.
“These claims are usually challenged in court by the insurance companies represented by their lawyers. It is often a lengthy legal process involving court appearances and expert witness opinion. There are patients who have waited for as long as 12 years for a settlement,” said MHAS advisor Prof Nathan Vytialingam, who has around 50 years of experience in the field of disabilites.
“In the meantime, while awaiting a settlement, the patient and their family find themselves stuck and can’t move on in life. Imagine what it would be like if the affected person is the sole bread winner of the family. It should be noted that most of such cases are from the B40 income group,” he added.
“The general consensus among medical and rehabilitation practitioners is that rehabilitation should commence early.”
He said that with proper rehabilitation, a person might even be able to return to being productive and go back to employment.
“Disability affects quality of life of not only the patient but their caregiver and family as well. It can put a tremendous amount of stress on the family and lead to many other problems,” said Prof Philip George, organising chairperson of the Medical Disability and Assessment of Damages seminar, to be held at the Persatuan Alumni Universiti Malaya (PAUM) clubhouse from on October 1 and 2, 2022.
“We need to address the lack of understanding among the medical practitioners, legal fraternity, insurance providers, judiciary and even the government on the medical issues of post trauma patients. The delays in settlements can also affect outcomes as the patient will need funds to support their treatments. Some of the families of the severely disabled are unable to care for their loved ones.
“These are among the examples of issues that will be discussed more in-depth at the seminar. There is a great need for stakeholders to meet and discuss a way forward on these often complicated issues in the handling of medical disability cases. This is why the MHAS is taking the lead in organising this seminar on Medical Disability and Assessment of Damages,” he added.
On the opening day of the seminar, Court of Appeal judge Justice S. Nantha Balan will deliver the keynote address, titled “Challenges to the Judiciary – Personal Injury Claims”.
About 200 participants, comprising mainly members of the legal and medical fraternity, medical claims managers, allied health practitioners, and members of the public, will attend its two-day programme of interactive talks and forums.
Raelene Smith (occupational therapist and manager, Fitness for Duty, Fire and Rescue, New South Wales, Australia), Michelle G. French (consultant occupational therapist), Dr Vaikunthan Rajaratnam (senior consultant, hand and micro surgery), Amanda Cullen (consultant occupational therapist, MF and Associates), K. Siladass (advocate and solicitor), Nava Seelan (advocate and solicitor), Prof Dr Viknes Waran (consultant neurosurgeon, UMMC), and Prof Nathan Vytialingam (consultant occupational therapist, Perdana University) will be among the speakers.
At the close of the seminar, the organising committee will draft a consensus statement that will include recommendations to the government towards the improvement in the handling of cases of medical disability in the country.
Click here for more information on the Medical Disability and Asssessment of Damages seminar.