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The Scalpel and the Paragraph: Special Issues of Medical Practice in Light of the Law

Within the framework of the course the participants, who have an affinity for Bioethics and Law, will gain insight into the special characteristics of the legal domain and certain fundamental legal concepts and methods that are relevant for a practicing physician, but cannot be sufficiently investigated into within the framework of other compulsory courses. The course considers the general part of medical law governing the legal relationship between medical practitioners and their patients, first by distinguishing between civil law and criminal law and explaining their respective characteristics. The legal position, the customary rights and obligations of physicians and patients are examined, together with the issues of informed consent. Topics will also include the civil and criminal liability of physicians and the issue of malpractice. Selected medico-legal issues over human life are also examined; these will include foetal rights, modern reproductive technologies, various aspects of human genetic research, and certain end-of-life issues such as advance directives and euthanasia. The foregoing topics will be discussed from the perspective of comparative law, by presenting various court cases from the countries of the European Union and the United States of America as well. Attending students will gain the ability to recognise and analyse legal health care issues by engaging in interactive discussions and informative research.

 

  1. Introduction: Aims and objectives of the course; presentation of the interdisciplinary method (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).
  2. The concept of „law”; the branches of law particularly relevant for medical practice (civil/private law; criminal law) (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).
  3. The human being and the law. Legal personhood and capacity to act. Man as a subject to fundamental human rights. (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).
  4. The parties to a medical legal relationship: doctor and patient. The legal position of the physician and the patient; their principal rights and obligations in the various legal systems (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).
  5. Creating a doctor-patient relationship: informed consent in the member countries of the European Union and in the USA (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).
  6. Various legal models of the doctor-patient relationship (mandate agreement, service agreement, treatment agreement etc.) (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).
  7. The physician and civil liability: malpractice/liability for damages in the member countries of the European Union and in the USA (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).
  8. The physician and criminal liability: specific criminal offences that can be committed by a physician/health care specialist (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer)
  9. The beginnings of human life and the law: legal position of the human foetus in the various legal systems (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).
  10. The beginnings of human life and the law: surrogacy and the legal issues generated by the recent developments in assisted human reproduction in Europe and in the world (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).
  11. The issues of medical research on humans: the framework set up by law (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).
  12. End-of-life decisions and the law: the “living will” and other forms of advance directives in the various legal systems; the refusal of lifesaving treatments (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).
  13. End-of-life decisions and the law: euthanasia in the member countries of the European Union and in the USA (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).
  14. Review of the semester; suggestions, observations and proposals (instructor: dr.iur. Orsolya Marta Peter PhD, Lecturer).