18:25 08.02.2021

Doctors insist on involving professional associations in controversial cases examination

4 min read

KYIV. Feb 8 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The expert commissions of professional medical associations should be involved in the classification of medical errors and the examination of controversial cases, representatives of public medical associations said at a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine agency on Monday.

"Every day in Ukraine two criminal proceedings against doctors are opened, almost half of them - against obstetricians and gynecologists. In Ukrainian courts, nine out of ten doctors are found guilty. Ukrainian legislation does not have a clear definition of the term 'medical error' or 'improper performance of professional duties by a medical or pharmaceutical worker'. This ambiguity of legislation does not protect either doctors' or patients' rights," board member of the Association of Private Medical Institutions of Ukraine Valeriy Zukin said.

In his opinion, the definition of "medical error" existing in the legislation of the country needs serious clarification.

"The problem is that only a medical commission can determine whether there was a medical error or negligence. There is practically no concept of a medical error. If a patient wants a doctor's blood, he goes to court, which makes a decision on the basis of a forensic medical expertise. Professional associations have nothing to do with this, and even if they carry out such an examination, the court may not accept it. Professional associations must prove the guilt of doctors," he said.

In turn, President of the Ukrainian Federation of Professional Medical Associations Viacheslav Kaminsky said that doctors often hear unfounded accusations, while they cannot fully defend themselves.

"The medical community is interested in an objective assessment of the doctor's actions. The doctor's actions should be interpreted from the point of view of professionalism. At the same time, today we see that any action of doctors is interpreted from the point of view of malicious intent," he said.

Kaminsky says that clear criteria of objectivity for making conclusions can be based on approved protocols and standards of medical care.

"The task is to update the basic protocols and documents, on the basis of which it is possible to determine whether there is a mistake, intent or a tragic coincidence. The criteria for objectivity can be documents approved by the Ministry of Health, but which are prepared by professional associations. Then we will talk about an independent and correct assessment of doctors' actions," he said.

In turn, First Deputy Minister of Health Iryna Sadoviak announced the plans of the Ministry of Health to update about 90 clinical protocols from March 1.

She also noted the presence of appeals regarding different interpretations of the term "medical error".

"We need to work out the correct interpretation of this norm. Now in Ukraine we do not always have a comprehensive and legally correct interpretation. Therefore, the Ministry of Health cares about legislative framework, industry standards and protocols that we are now updating. The Ministry of Health works a lot in this direction," she said.

At the same time, Sadoviak reported the presence of unscrupulous patients who deliberately file complaints against medical institutions and doctors, not in order to solve the problem, but in order to collect money from them.

"Unfortunately, there are more such cases every year," she said.

For his part, the chairman of the parliamentary committee on public health, medical assistance and medical insurance Mykhailo Radutsky said that legal and physical protection of doctors is becoming a problem and challenge in the healthcare system. To solve the problem, the MPs prepare a number of bills, in particular, those devoted to the compulsory insurance of doctors against medical errors.

"We believe that the global practice of protecting doctors precisely through insurance against medical error is one of the foundations of the healthcare system functioning," he said.

Radutsky also said that the relevant committee is preparing a bill on criminal liability for attacks on doctors.

In turn, medical lawyer, vice-president of the Ukrainian Federation of Professional Medical Associations Iryna Sysoyenko said that with regard to legislation it is necessary to be consistent and introduce a clear definition of medical errors in the laws.

"There are medical errors. Doctors are interested in the process, when a medical error is not a reason for any complaints, but a reason for professional development and training opportunities, so that there are fewer such errors. The next step in legislation is insurance of professional activities of a doctor," she said.