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Few remarks on rights of patients suddering from medical mistakes

Few remarks on rights of patients suddering from medical mistakes

In a current legal status patient suffering from medical error is entitle to seek, in one civil proceedings, compensation for the harm caused (bodily harm, loss of health), compensation for material losses (costs of treatment, rehabilitation, specialists consultancy) as well as pension, if the mistake results in total or partial  loss of work ability. Civil responsibility of the physician may be, in above mentioned case, individual (in the event of private practice), joint and several liability among with the institution (if the physician works on contractual basis), the hospital may be liable for the physician (if physician is employed on the basis of a employment contract in the public institution or its subsidiary institution, clinics and private institutes) or National Health Fund, in the event of injury suffered by the patient resulted form incorrect organization of rendering medical services. Claim is subject to the three years statute of limitation, counted from the day which the patient acknowledged the injury in and the person obliged to compensate it.

In order to strengthen the legal protection of patients suffering from medical mistakes, it is crucial to increase their legal consciousness so that they would be aware of their rights regarding health injury and possibilities to vindicate does rights. Trials on medical mistakes should be discussed loudly by media. Those actions should indicate awareness of physicians that if they loose the trial their good name may be tarnished as well as their recognition and trust of patients working for. A fear of huge consequences to their professional lives connected with loosing the case could be a starting point of settlement disputes between physicians and patients on amicable basis.

The latest changes discussed in the medical environment set up direction towards amicable settlement of disputes. The new institution of mediator is being postulated, whose task would be inter alia to strive for extrajudicial settlement of physician v. patient disputes, including disputes regarding potential claims due to medical mistakes.

Agata Skrabucha

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