The Goal Of Protecting Doctors From Criminal Encroachments, Which Was Originally Set, Has Not Been Achieved

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The Goal Of Protecting Doctors From Criminal Encroachments, Which Was Originally Set, Has Not Been Achieved
The Goal Of Protecting Doctors From Criminal Encroachments, Which Was Originally Set, Has Not Been Achieved

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The goal of protecting doctors from criminal encroachments, which was originally set, has not been achieved

The State Duma adopted a law on responsibility for attacks on doctors in the performance of their professional duty. This responsibility is viewed through the prism of hypothetical harm to patients: for example, punishment threatens auto-drivers who interfere with the work of the ambulance. Doctors themselves believe that the law should protect them from attacks without reference to the consequences for patients.

"The goal of protecting doctors from criminal encroachments, which was originally set, has not been achieved"
"The goal of protecting doctors from criminal encroachments, which was originally set, has not been achieved"

Photo: pxhere.com / 1930

The State Duma adopted a law on liability for attacks on medical workers in the performance of their professional duty. Responsibility for this is viewed through the prism of hypothetical harm to patients: for example, a real term threatens hooligans and car drivers who interfere with the work of the ambulance team. Doctors themselves believe that the law should protect them from attacks without reference to the consequences for patients.

At their last meeting in this session, the State Duma deputies adopted in the third reading a package of bills tightening sanctions for interfering with the work of doctors. After several years of conversations and a dozen legislative initiatives - attempts to protect doctors from violence, the deputies settled on a completely "toothless" option.

History of the issue

Attempts to legally protect doctors from hooliganism during the performance of their official duties have been made for many years. The essence of most of the bills was reduced to amendments to Article 138 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation "Use of violence against a government official" with the aim of extending it to medical workers, in particular, ambulance crews and emergency rooms. And punish hooligans and raging patients in the same way as if they attacked a law enforcement officer. However, the Duma rejected all the proposed initiatives, considering that the measures that are in the legislation are quite enough. And, besides, it is not worth creating such a precedent, otherwise ideas will appear about increased responsibility for aggression against employees of housing organizations or gas services.

In the adopted version of the law, we are talking about the introduction of administrative responsibility for obstructing the work of doctors - threats, interfering with access to the patient, and retention. Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses provide for fines from 4 thousand to 5 thousand rubles in cases where interference with doctors did not affect the patient's health. If any of these actions resulted in moderate or serious harm to the patient's health, the culprit will face criminal liability. In particular, a new article has been added to the Criminal Code, according to which obstruction "in any form of the lawful activity of a medical worker", which caused serious harm to the patient's health, may result in imprisonment for up to two years, forced labor or a fine of up to 80 thousand rubles.If this offense led to the death of the patient, then the prison term can be up to four years.

The attack on medical workers performing their professional duties poses an increased public danger due, inter alia, to a decrease in the availability of medical care in connection with the special status of the victims,” says the explanatory note to the bill.

Even at the stage of discussing the bill, experts of the National Medical Chamber, headed by Leonid Roshal, prepared their amendments to the document, believing that in the existing one it does not take into account all situations associated with aggression against medical workers. In particular, it was a question of prescribing in Art. 124.1 responsibility not only for the fact that the patient has suffered, but also for the harm caused to the health worker himself. Moreover, there should be no question of any imprudence here: “encroachment on the health or life of a person performing his official duty” is a deliberate crime. However, the deputies did not listen to the opinion of the professional community.

The adopted law does not protect anyone and, in principle, is impracticable, insist in the National Medical Chamber. “The new article of the Criminal Code 124.1 provides for high responsibility in an attack on a doctor only if he is prevented from providing medical assistance. The protected object under this article is not a medical worker, but a patient. This is unfair to doctors, because a doctor must be protected in the same way as the life and health of a patient,”said Lilia Aydarova, head of the organization’s legal department.

She recalled that statistics indicate an increase in attacks on doctors by patients or their relatives, therefore Article 124.1 needs to be amended in terms of direct protection of the life and health of a medical worker. “When a doctor is attacked, not only a specific patient suffers, but also those potential patients who could potentially be helped if nothing had happened to him. Unfortunately, the adopted bill does not take all this into account. Another problem is that it will be very difficult to prove, including with the help of an examination, a causal relationship between the state in which the patient was and his state at the time when the doctor could not help him, because he interfered. The goal of protecting doctors from criminal encroachments, which was originally set in the development of this bill, is not being achieved.It is unlikely that such a law will protect patients either, since it will be difficult to prove guilt for the specific consequences of the attack on health workers,”Aidarova summed up.

Meanwhile, in world practice there are examples of increased responsibility for violence against health workers. For example, seven years ago, the Israeli Knesset passed a law to toughen penalties for attacks on employees of medical institutions and ambulance workers while on duty (up to five years in prison). Until then, attacking medical personnel had a maximum sentence of three years in prison, just like attacking any other government official.

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