Medical and Nursing Civil Liability and Ethics in the Provision of Health Services: Forensic Pathologists as Experts

Medical and Nursing Civil Liability and Ethics in the Provision of Health Services: Forensic Pathologists as Experts

Theophano Papazissi (Law School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Fotios Chatzinikolaou (Department of Forensic Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4213-2.ch025

Abstract

After 2000, specific legislation on civil liability and ethics of nurses and doctors was introduced, as well as specific acts. For nurses and the nursing profession, since 2001, the Code of Nursing Ethics (NCSD, Presidential Decree 216/2001) has been in force. In 2005, the current Code of Medical Ethics (KID, Law 3418/2005) was passed. Special Law 3305/2005 on the application of assisted reproduction methods was introduced to specify how the methods introduced in the Civil Code were applied as methods of generating kinship among persons under Law 2089/2002 (MAP). The chapter summarizes the main points regarding civil liability of medical and nursing activity with a special focus on oncological patients.
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Medical Liability

Liability Concept

Liability in law is divided into civil, criminal and disciplinary. Individuals (doctors, nursing staff) and legal entities of public law (as the public hospitals) or private law (as the private clinics) and the State are responsible. This responsibility concerns the real facts of their employers or members of their managing boards.

The civil liability creates a claim either for performance or for compensation. The one or the other case depends by the real facts. The legal responsibility concerns to individuals for their own liabilities, as doctors, nursing staff etc., or for liabilities concerning actions of other persons depending of them or third parties in his service or authority, who serves to perform their duties. Legal responsibility may also have the State (art. 104, 105 LIntrAK) also the public legal persons, as the public hospitals, for the acts of the members of their managing boards. The private legal persons are also responsible for the acts of their bodies during the execution of their duties (art. 71 ΑΚ), also for the real facts of their employers.

The criminal liability entails the conviction of the person to a custodial sentence or financial consequence.

The disciplinary liability draws mainly administrative penalties.

The doctor-patient relationship and the quality of the services provided, and the responsibility of the doctors are based on the general provisions of the Code of Medical Ethics (L. 3418/2005). The Code of Nursing Ethics (presidential degree No 216/2006) precise the nurse’s duties, responsibility and relationships to the patients. Specific Rules of Ethics are also introduced by L. 3305/2005 on the application of medically assisted reproduction methods.

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Medical Acts And Persons Concerned

Medical Acts

Medical acts falling under the concept of law are described in detail in the provision of Article 2 of the Code.

The concept of medical acts includes any procedures that aims human’s health as the prevention, the diagnosing, the treating and the restoring health by any scientific method. Medical acts are also those of a research nature, as they are intended to more accurately diagnose, restore or improve the health of the person or to promote science. Otherwise as medical act is considered the prescribing, the order for each paraclinical examination, the issuance of medical certificates and confirmations, and the general counseling of the patient.

Liability arises from the damage caused by a breach of these acts and is determined by the provisions of this law, in conjunction with the general provisions on liability.

Regardless of these, the Act also includes the acts provided for in L. 2089/2002 concerning the assisted reproduction, and its application which are regulated in L. 3305/2005. The latter also provides for liability in their execution and penalties for infringements.

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