Vol 71, No 3 (2021)
Other materials agreed with the Editors
Published online: 2021-06-09

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Infringement of the personal rights of a doctor and medical institution

Justyna Ożegalska-Trybalska1
Nowotwory. Journal of Oncology 2021;71(3):179-182.


Health and life constitute a special value for everyone. Therefore, parties involved in providing medical services are subject to exceptionally high expectations, and the activities of doctors and medical institutions are subject to social control. Such control is carried out with the participation of patients and journalists using mass media, particularly the Internet. Even though such control is allowed and freedom of speech and freedom of the press allow for public expression of opinions (including critical and negative ones), presenting one’s position – even on important social issues – does not entitle one to infringe upon the personal rights of medical personnel and health care institutions. Meantime, criticizing and defaming doctors has become increasingly common in recent years due to the growing popularity of internet portals evaluating doctors, social media disseminating information, as well as the social tensions related to the overburdened health service and limited access to some health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, patients exposed to stress about the health or hospital treatment are more likely to manifest their emontions by verbal aggression (insults or slanders) towards the medical personnel [1]. In the case of a threat to or infringement of personal rights, civil and criminal remedies are available to the doctor and the medical establishment, which protect against the negative consequences of an infringement of reputation or good name in the personal, professional and social sphere.

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Nowotwory. Journal of Oncology