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Zrazhevska N.


Med. pravo., 2015; 1(15): 26-35

UDC: 343.211.3:343.131.5


candidate of legal sciences, senior lecturer of Department of medical law, Faculty of postgraduate education Danylo Halytsky Lviv National Medical University

Court Protection of the Professional Honour, Dignity and Business Reputation of Physicians

Physician’s professional skills, experience, competences, expertise and business reputation are the intangible benefits, referring to which personal non-property rights appear that are object of legal state protection. A physician, as a subject of legal relations concerning medical aid provision, is a bearer of such personal non-property rights. To properly performance of their duties, the physician must be sure that there exist effective legal protective schemes to protect their rights, in case of their violation, especially court one. Paragraph l of part 1 of Article 77 of Basic laws of Ukraine on healthcare among medical and pharmaceutical workers’ rights defines the right for court protection of professional dignity and honour. Mentioned regulation is an important part of particularization of the every person’s right to court protection, guaranteed by Article 55 of Constitution of Ukraine.

Notions of honour and dignity have not been legally defined yet. According to the context of paragraph 4 of The Resolution of the Plenum of Supreme Court of Ukraine ‘On judicial practice concerning natural person’s honour and dignity protection’ №1 of 2.27.2009 (further – Resolution №1), as dignity we should understand admitting of value of each natural person as a bio-psycho-social value. To honour we refer positive social appreciation of a person by their surroundings, based on correspondence of their actions with conventional concept of good and evil. As a business reputation we understand acquired by a person public appreciation of their business and professional qualities while performing job, civil or other duties.

As to physician’s personal non-property benefits, especially their professional honour, dignity and reputation, there appear physician’s personal non-property rights. Possibility of protection of physician’s personal non-property rights to respect to professional honour, dignity and reputation by a court is an element of legal protection as a general legal category. The legal grounds for appearing rights for physician’s personal non-property rights protection, according to part 1of Article 15 of Civil Code of Ukraine is violation of this right. The examples of physician’s personal non-property rights for respect to professional honour, dignity and reputation violation may be: reports on Central Clinic Hospital labour collective meetings, where the all workers of the hospital were present that one of the candidates for position of a chief doctor is ‘an old marasmic person’ and, he was called ‘a moron’; reporting in complaints and on labour collective meetings information like: ‘The physician ignored everything, she pretended as if she didn’t hear me and demanded a bribe. I refused to do this. Also she behaved badly and insisted on giving her money…’; reporting on the village dwellers meeting that ‘the chief doctor of Bystrytsia dispensery PERSON_6 promotes financial self-will in the village, takes bribes and demands money for physician’s visit’; written reports of Lviv NGO ‘Peoples anti-corruption control’ to Ukrainian Parliament Ombudsman according to which ‘…on the revenge round the doctor PERSON_1 illegally put PERSON_3 to hospital for mental diseases and intentionally diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia in absolutely healthy person, without any symptoms of a mental disease’ and alike cases.

When a patient (another applicant) goes beyond the legal restrictions of implementation of their subjective right to information, freedom of thought, petition, appeal physician’s actions or inaction, this usually happens to harm physicians and has not evaluative, but rather offensive character.

According to Article 40 of the Constitution of Ukraine and taking into consideration conclusions of Constitutional Court of Ukraine award of April, 10 2003, № 8 – rp/2003, everybody has a right to personal or collective written application or personal appeal to state and local authorities, officials and employees of this offices, who have to examine an appeal and give off a substantiated response during the fixed by law term. If person appeals to the mentioned officials with an appeal that contains some or other information and this office is competent to prove such information and give a response, but during the examination information has not been proved, the mentioned circumstance itself can’t be a reason to sustain a claim of misinformation refutation, since in such case there has been a person’s constitutional right realization, rather than misinformation.

A feature of cases of such category is putting a burden of proving of negative information reliability on a person, who spread it, according to Article 277 of Civil Code of Ukraine. Whereas a person, whose non-property rights have been violated, must prove a fact of spreading. It has already been said about possible forms of misinformation concerning physicians.

In paragraph 15 of Resolution №1 it is stated that while considering cases of such category, courts should bear in mind that judicial offence that may be a reason for claim satisfaction consists of such elements: a) spreading of information, that is to let it know at least one person in any way; b) spread information concerns a natural person or legal body, that is a plaintiff; c) spreading of misinformation, that is untruthful information; d) spreading information that offences personal non-property rights or harms corresponding personal non-property goods or prevents a person from complete and timely fulfilling of their personal non-property right.

From Paragraph 26 of Resolution № 1 it follows that refutation must be conducted in the same way as misinformation. If it is impossible, it must be done in similar (adequate) to misinformation way, including the maximum effectiveness of refutation and provided that such refutation involves as many as possible people, who were misinformed. Paragraph 27 of the Resolution № 1 states that means of honour, dignity and business reputation protection from misinformation may include not only right to answer and refutation of misinformation, but also a request to compensate for losses and moral damages that were inflicted to a person. The stated requests are considered according to general reasons of responsibility for harm.

Moreover, it’s worth to pay attention to Paragraph 13 of the Resolution № 1 that states that according to Paragraph 3 of Part 4 of Article 277 of Civil Code of Ukraine, court protection of honour, dignity and business reputation as a result of misinformation is not also excluded in case when a person, who spread such information is unknown (e.g. sending anonymous or pseudonymous letters or applications, death of an individual or liquidation of legal person, spreading of the information on the Internet by an unidentified person, etc.). In such case a court has right according to involved person’s application, to establish a fact of falsity of this information and to refute it in the proceeding on exparte application.

Consequently, legal defence of physician’s personal non-property rights to respect of professional honour, dignity and business reputation may be conducted by refutation of the spread misinformation about the physician, providing the physician’s response (their own understanding of the case), ascertainment of the fact of faultiness of the spread about the physician information, compensation of losses and moral damages, that inflicted the physicians by violation of their personal non-property rights to respect to professional honour, dignity and business reputation.

Key words: honor, dignity, business reputation personal non-property rights, physician, court, method of protection of right.

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