Speech on Medical Civil Liability,by the Honorary Judge of the Supreme Court, Ioannis Chamilothoris, at IASO
The speech of the Honorary Judge of the Supreme Court and Chairman of the Society of Judicial Studies, Mr. Ioannis Chamilothoris, on the topic "Discussing Medical Civil Liability Issues", took place with great success on Friday, March 10th, 2023, at IASO Hospital’s Event Hall.
University Professors, Medical Associates, Legal Counsels, the Management, IASO Group’s personnel, as well as a multitude of people, had the opportunity to attend Mr. Chamilothoris’ speech and to be informed about the very interesting and important issue of Medical Liability within the framework of the Civil law.
Initially, Mr. Chamilothoris separated civil medical liability from the corresponding criminal liability, briefly noting their differences. Then, analyzing physicians' civil liability, he distinguished contractual liability from tort liability. In his speech, he focused on the analysis of tort liability, which is based on the common tort law (Article 914 of the Civil Code) and at the same time on the provisions of Article 8 of Law 2251/1994, which independently provides for a compensatory liability of service providers, such as physicians.
The speaker made a special reference to the concept of medical malpractice and its importance in establishing tort liability. Moreover, in relation to medical malpractice, he broached the delicate issue of the judges' assessment of the evidence, which requires scientific knowledge to a great degree, but still remains a legal matter.
Subsequently, Mr. Chamilothoris referred to the forms of medical negligence, which can basically appear in the form of wrong diagnosis or non-diagnosis of a disease or improper treatment, but also in the formation of a physician’s standard of care. He also emphasized that the objective conditions, the service provision, the type of medical procedure (risk of the procedure, patient susceptibility), the increased capabilities of the physicians within their specialty must be taken into account. Finally, he did not fail to mention the issue of the patient’s consent and its role in establishing civil liability. In any case, as he pointed out, taking into account the particularities of each operation or the physician’s specialty, medical liability must always be integrated in the general framework set by article 914 of the Civil Code and a special legal framework that will exclusively concern medical actions must not be created.
He then spoke of damage in a broad sense, which is remedied if the conditions of the physician’s tort liability are met, which includes: a) the patient’s positive and consequential damage (Article 929 of the Civil Code); b) the reasonable pecuniary satisfaction, due to moral damage (Article 932 of the Civil Code) and c) a compensation, as a third independent claim, in case of disability or disfigurement caused to the patient (Article 931 of the Civil Code).
However, Mr. Chamilothoris expressed his disagreement as to the logic of the existence of this compensation of Article 931 of the Civil Code, since, as he argued, disability or disfigurement can be taken sufficiently and satisfactorily into account in the types of compensation of articles 929 and 932 of the Civil Code, which does not justify the existence of a third independent claim for compensation.
Finally, he referred to the physician’s liability based on Article 8 of Law 2251/1994 and the difference it presents in comparison to the tort liability under Article 914 of the Civil Code. This is mainly found in the burden of proof of the lack of illegality and culpability, which in this case is borne by the physician and not the patient. That is, in this case the burden of proof is reversed, since the physician providing the services, in order to be relieved of their responsibility, must prove themselves that the damage caused by the provision of the medical service is not due to their own illegal and culpable behavior during the provision of their services.
From the left: Ms. Christina Chamilothori, Counsel; Mr. Aristeidis Antsaklis, MD, PhD, FRCOG, (Hon.), Professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology at the University of Athens, Chairman of the IASO Scientific Council; Mr. Ioannis Chamilothoris, Honorary Judge of the Supreme Court, Chairman of the Society of Judicial Studies; Ms. Elpida Stratikopoulou, IASO Group’s Legal Counsel; Dr. Georgios Stamatiou, Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Chairman of the IASO Group BOD.
For more journalistic information: Nancy Christopoulou, IASO Group Commercial & Marketing Department, tel.: 210 6383917, E-mail: [email protected]