“Medical secrecy” often turns into a legal way of avoiding responsibility. Or the tale of a murdered baby
“In almost every case where the quality of medical care is concerned, relatives are faced with a refusal to tell what diagnosis the deceased had and what specifically the death occurred from,” explains Kopteeva. - Often parents of minor children, although they seem to be guardians and legal representatives, also do not provide information, citing medical confidentiality. Most citizens, faced with a refusal, do not go further to restore their rights. They do not have the strength and resources to appeal this. Moreover, due to legal illiteracy, they do not know how to do it. And in prison medicine it’s even worse. There it is also necessary to obtain permission from law enforcement officers to access documents.
The only way to find out the truth is to seek criminal proceedings and, within its framework, require documentation. Human rights activists say that this has to be done even in cases where they were not originally intended. Another way to achieve clarity is a civil lawsuit in court for compensation for non-pecuniary damage. And then, through the court, try to get documents from medical examination. However, it turns out a vicious circle: lawyers often do not have sufficient evidence to make a reasoned statement.
“We have to file a“ naked ”lawsuit,” adds Anastasia. - This may become the basis either for refusal of satisfaction, or it will not be considered at all. Therefore, I believe that issues related to medical confidentiality need additional regulation.
In the practice of the Trans-Baikal Center, there was a case when lawyers tried to use medical secrecy, as was originally intended by the legislator, to protect the rights of the patient. In April 2014, doctors broke a skull and injured the spine of a newborn in the Central District Hospital of Shilka, Trans-Baikal Territory, during childbirth. Later, a medical examination found that the reason was the clinically narrow pelvis in the woman in labor. In such cases, a cesarean section is done. But the obstetrician, mistakenly deciding that the woman had a weak labor, persistently "extracted" the child from the womb by vacuum.
After a tragic birth, the doctor went into the corridor, where a crowd of people stood, and began to loudly and emotionally tell the details of what happened. The mother of the injured baby then worried that their misfortune became the property of the entire small city. As compensation for moral and material harm to the family, the court decided to recover 751 thousand rubles from the Shilkinskaya hospital. The claim for punishment for disseminating information constituting medical confidentiality was rejected.
Typically, in medical forums, news of material compensation cases won by patients is perceived negatively. Under each post there are a lot of sarcastic comments about greedy lawyers and ungrateful patients.
“Let them tell about greed for those who suffered from the negligence of doctors,” Anastasia Kopteeva explains. - If there were one or two complaints a year about doctors - this is one thing. And when they act weekly, it already says that it is necessary to improve professional skills.
Naturally, when a person suspects that a medical institution is deliberately trying to hide information about what happened, this does not add to the positive relations between doctors and patients. Although, perhaps, there is really no one's fault in any particular misfortune, and the doctor is simply afraid and does not know how to talk with the relatives of the victim.
“I never insist on criminal prosecution of a health worker,” Kopteeva sums up. - But some responsibility should still be. Punishment by the ruble is very stimulating to a particular hospital, so that in future there will be no cases when the patient is crippled or he dies due to the fault of doctors. Next time, perhaps the leadership of this institution will think about preventive measures. Perhaps it will think about the need to improve the qualifications of doctors, it is necessary to arrange some kind of seminars more often, and conduct more trainings on the communication of doctors with patients. However, the key condition is the recognition of errors. A proper investigation by the authorities of medical matters is necessary for the safety of the consumer of medical services.With recognition and awareness is still tight. After all, government agencies officially broadcast the position: in general, everything is wonderful with the exception of certain shortcomings. Even if the court finds that the medical assistance was “defective,” the medical facility rarely agrees with this. The obstetrician from the case of a crippled baby, for example, did not admit her mistakes and, speaking with a closing word in court, was indignant that the woman in labor did not insist on Caesarean.