Legal liability and risks during infusion therapy

  • N.O. Lisnevska “ACTIO” Law Group, Kyiv, Ukraine


Background. The issue of legal liability is extremely important for all healthcare workers (HCW). HCW are solely responsible for medical violations during the performance of their professional duties. There is a misconception that in case of non-provision or error in the provision of medical care outside the medical institution, the HCW will be liable. However, this is not always so, as in this case the HCW is considered an ordinary citizen and bears ordinary civil liability.

Objective. To describe the legal aspects of MP liability, in particular, during infusion therapy (IT).

Materials and methods. Analysis of the legal framework.

Results and discussion. The public consciousness has formed the idea of the great responsibility of HCW for human life and health. Unfortunately, in Ukraine, people often do not care about their own health and do not take preventive measures, shifting all responsibility to HCW. Citizens have the right to receive health care and the right for the compensation of improper medical care and damage caused by the actions of the HCW. According to surveys, a lawsuit from a patient is the leading fear of HCW. This fear needs to be reduced, as the doctor and nurse should not be afraid of their patients. According to the objective model of liability, the HCW is guilty of the damage caused to the victim (patient), if the average citizen believes that the actions of HCW were the cause of the unfavorable course of events. This model is often used by domestic media, although in Ukraine it is not enshrined in law. For a long time, criminal liability for medical crimes has dominated Ukraine. Currently, there are criminal, administrative, disciplinary and civil kinds of liability. According to the criminal legislation of Ukraine, criminal liability arises for a crime that contains a crime according to the Criminal Code. Criminal activity contradicts the very essence of medical activity, so special attention is paid to such crimes. It should be noted that the intentional crimes committed by HCW are much less common than crimes of negligence. An important problem is that lawyers do not always understand the specifics of the nature of a medical crime. There are circumstances in which HCW are released from liability for a crime. These circumstances include actions of extreme necessity and actions in risk settings. Extreme necessity often takes place in urgent medical interventions. These circumstances often accompany emergency care in case of accidents, military problems and disasters.

IT is often a kind of experiment, because the drugs administered may be perceived differently by the patient, even with a normal previous history. Because treatment is often associated with risk, for example, in case of IT side effects, a nurse who continues to administer the drug on a protocol or off-protocol (subject to consultation with the patient and/or the board of physicians) will not be criminally liable. Similarly, a nurse will not be criminally liable in case of deciding to discontinue IT due to the patient’s deterioration. In such circumstances, the nurse should inform the physician of the situation as soon as possible and eliminate the danger to the patient as soon as possible. Cases in which the damage was caused intentionally for a useful purpose is a separate category of cases. This is most common in chemotherapy and in experimental studies. The HCW should take sufficient, in his opinion, and appropriate to his qualification measures to improve the patient’s condition. Sometimes nurses have to make decisions in time deficit, for example, as for measures for a patient with a psychiatric illness that threatens other people. In such cases, there is also no criminal liability, as the act was committed to save the lives and health of others.

Medical crimes are divided into professional and official. The first are directly related to the performance of professional duties (HIV/AIDS, illegal abortion, disclosure of personal information of the patient, violation of the patient’s rights, not providing medical care provision, etc.). It should be noted that the HCW cannot be blamed for not providing medical care if it does not meet his/her qualifications.

Conclusions. 1. HCW must know their rights and act for the benefit of patients. 2. Medical crimes are divided into professional and official. 3. There are situations in which HCW are released from criminal liability.

Keywords: healthcare workers, legal responsibility, criminal responsibility, medical crimes.
How to Cite
Lisnevska , N. (2020). Legal liability and risks during infusion therapy. Infusion & Chemotherapy, (3.2), 175-177.
Oral presentation materials of IV International Congress of infusion therapy