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Human health issues arising as a result of medical errors

In the course of one’s life, one may for whatever reasons seek medical help, in order to lead an active, healthy and happy lifestyle. However, not all individuals who are charged with improving the health of others perform their functions as intended. As a result of malpractice, varying degrees of damage may be inflicted on citizens, which can lead in certain circumstances to a person’s death. This is why it is important for citizens to be informed about their rights to protect their health and how to bring the perpetrators to justice. The law states that every person has the right to receive compensation for damage(s) caused to human health as a result of medical care and full legal responsibilities for those that provide medical care, under whom damages to health were inflicted.

Please note, that the legislation of the Republic of Armenia makes it possible to bring the perpetrator to criminal and civil liability. The Criminal Code of Armenia provides for the following composition of the crime, if those providing medical assistance and professional duties do not perform, or do not follow on properly due to negligent or careless attitude to their duties and as a result, a medium, or serious harm is sustained by a patient –this is defined as medical crime with due effects on patient’s health. For any medical negligence, there are also criminal penalties.

Criminal liability is imposed on those officials, who are careless or negligent attitude to their official duties, or due to dereliction of duty, or who do not meet their performance, who thereby negligently caused substantial damage to person or his/her health, including when the damage is so serious as to result in the death of a person, or to cause permanent physical and/or mental damage.

In medical practice, within the Republic of Armenia, there were cases when doctors who did not have a higher education in their respective medical field, performed abortions. As you can imagine, this led to the most tragic consequences. Today it is a criminal offense and is illegal any implementation of an abortion by a person who does not have a higher education in this filed. It is also forbidden to carry out an abortion by a person with a higher education in this field when, it is performed outside a specially equipped room or medical facility, or if a woman has obvious desire not to abort.

In the Republic of Armenia, as in other countries, the doctor-patient confidentiality is an accepted fact. This prohibits doctors to provide information on the state of health of patient(s) to third parties, whether they have in fact seen a doctor, the diagnosis, and other information. Often, doctors forgetting the medical Hippocratic Oath given by them, either intentionally, or negligently violate the requirement to comply with the oath. This can and does lead to suffering for the patient that will undoubtedly affect his/her personal life and relationship with others. Therefore persons who provide medical care, under pain of criminal punishment are prohibited without professional, or official reason to disclose information about an existing disease, or the results of medical examination of the patient(s) under their care.

In the Republic of Armenia, there are special conditions for private medical or pharmaceutical activity. These conditions are fixed by laws, by regulations of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia and other legal Acts. Being directly related to people’s lives, this type of activity is of paramount importance. The persons who are engaged in private medical, or pharmaceutical activities should be registered and have a license, or a permit. Otherwise, their work will be considered illegal. If their activities cause harm to human health then it is considered a crime.

Please note that the damage caused as a result of medical errors can be compensated for in the civil proceedings as well. Article 1058 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Armenia establishes that the damage caused to an individual, or his/her property, shall be reimbursed in full by the person who caused the damage. The employer bears the responsibility of compensation for harm and/or damage caused to the employee if the harm and/or damage follows from the obligations under the employment contract. The compensation claim is filed with the public or private medical facility. Presentation of the claim may include a claim for damages to health, medical expenses and loss of wages due to the damage caused.

If one is unable to resolve a dispute(s) outside available legal channels, one can go to court. It is important to remember that one’s health is one’s greatest asset and one must do utmost to safeguard it.

Vardan Khechyan LLC’ has extensive experience in resolving cases involving such disputes. We will help in the collection and preparation of all necessary documents to file a claim and representation of your interests in court.