LEGAL AND ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES IN HEALTH CARE
Legal Responsibilities • Civil Law • Legal relationships between people and the protection of a persons rights • Torts- wrongful acts that do not involve contracts • Health care mainly affected by civil law: both contracual and torts • Criminal Law • Wrongs against a person, property or society • Examples of criminal law in health carepracticing without license, use of narcotics, theft, murder
Torts • Malpractice- “bad practice” • Negligence- failure to give care that is normally expected • Assault-threat or attempt to injure • Battery-unlawful touching of another person without their consent • Invasion of Privacy- includes unneccessary exposure of an individual or revealing personal information
Torts (cont. ) • False imprisonment-Restraining an individual or restricting their freedom. • Abuse-Any care that results in physical pain or mental anguish
Forms of Abuse • Physical- hitting, restraining, depriving of food water or physical needs • Verbal- can be spoken or written – swearing, shouting, ethnic slurs • Psychological-threatening harm, denying rights, intimidating, belittling • Sexual touching, gestures, or suggestions that are unwanted
Torts (cont. ) • Defammation- false statements which cause a person to be ridiculed or ruin their reputation • 1) Slander-spoken • 2) Libel-written
Informed Consent • Permission granted voluntarily by a person who is sound of mind after the procedure and all risks involved have been explained in terms the person can understand.
Contracts • Expressed Contracts • Stated in distinct and clear language either orally or in writing. • Implied Contracts • Obligations understood without verbally expressed terms • Ex. Surgical permit • Ex. Giving medication to a patient
Legal Disability • A person who does not have the legal capacity to form a contract. • Minors • Mentally incompetent individuals • Someone under the influence of drugs • Someone who does not understand the language
• EMPLOYER • EMPLOYEE • Principle • Agent
Privileged Communications All information given to health care personnel by a patient • Must be kept confidential and shared only by members of patient’s health care team • Must receive written release to give information to others (exceptions: births and deaths, injuries caused by violence, drug abuse, communicable diseases and sexually transmitted diseases.
Health Care Records • • An example of privileged communications Patient may obtain a copy Can be used as legal records Errors crossed out with a single line and initialed, and dated • Must be kept for amount of time required by law then burned or shredded
Ethics • Set of principals relating to what is morally right or wrong. • Provide a standard of conduct or code of behavior. • Issues: Euthansia, Stem Cell Research, marijuana legalization, animal in research, denying treatment on religious grounds etc. .
Confidentiality • Information about the patient must remain private and can be shared only with other members of the patient’s health care team.
Patients Rights • Patient’s Bill of Rights by AHA • Considerate respectful care • Obtain complete current info about diagnosis etc… • Receive info to give informed consent • Have advanced directives- can refuse treatment
Patients’ Rights • Privacy • Confidentialty • Reasonable response to a request for services • Receive info about relationships between doctors and medical facilities etc… • Be informed of right to refuse being involved in research
Patients’ Rights • Reasonable continuity of care • Right to review medical records and examine bills • Be informed of hospital rules, regulations, and resources to settle greivances
Advanced Directives • Living Wills- Documents that allow individuals to state what measures should or should not be taken to prolong life when their conditions are terminal • Durable Power of Attorney- Document which allows another individual to make their medical decisions for them if they become unable to
Advanced Directives • Patient Self-Determination Act • Inform every adult verbally and in writing of their right to make decisions about their care including right to refuse treatment and right to die • Document advance directiveson patient’s record
Professional Standards • Only perform procedures you have been trained and are legally permitted to do. • Use only approved, correct procedures • Obtain proper authorization before performing any procedure • Identify patient and receive their consent before performing procedure
Professional Standards • • • Observe all Safety Precautions Keep all information confidential Think before you speak Treat all patients equally Accept no tips or bribes If any mistakes or errors occur report them immediately to your supervisor • Behave professionally in dress, language, manners and actions