Knowledge of medical law amongst doctors of internal diseases
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Department of Medical Law, Chair of Humanities, Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland
Department of Medical Law, Chair of Humanities, Medical University of Lodz, ul. Lindleya 6, 90-131, Łódź, Poland
Department of Medical Informatics and Statistics, Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland
2nd Chair of Internal Diseases, Department of Internal Diseases, Asthma and Allergy, Medical University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2013;26(2):242-56
Objectives: In Poland, 95% of medical personnel had not received legal education before they completed their studies. Having been given these facts, we have started questioning legal awareness of people providing medical services. Aim of the study: The study aimed at evaluating the knowledge of allergists and pulmonologists. Material and Methods: The group consisting of 328 allergists and/or pulmonologist completed the questionnaire. Results: The participants possess the best knowledge in providing information to patients about their health status (CV1). Sixty nine % of responders replied correctly, and the difference was significant (p < 0.001) in comparison with next aspect referring to the principles of providing medical services following guidelines created by think-tanks and also possibilities to take autonomous decisions by physicians (CV2). The correct answers in relation to CV2 were given by 57% of responders. The third compared aspect was physicians' awareness of patients' right to giving a consent or refusal before undertaking the medical procedure CV3. Only 55% of physicians gave correct answers and the difference was significant compared to CV1 (p < 0.001) as well as CV2 (p < 0.05). Younger doctors showed to have better knowledge than their older colleagues (p < 0.05). Working in urban workplaces proved to be more associated with better knowledge than in rural ones (p < 0.05). Discussion: Insufficient knowledge results in a low quality of provided services and puts the doctors at risk of being liable. The rates indicate that doctors are not aware of the fact that only legal regulations are binding, while standards not published by the Minister of Health are not legally valid. Half of the respondents have the wrong belief that the opinions expressed by experts make the doctor feel exempt from liability. Probably there are specialities, like occupational medicine which are specially linked with awareness of valid legal rules.
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