The physician has the obligation under the law to take care of the patient's treatment, in accordance with the current, generally accepted achievements of medical science and practice. In case of deviations from these obligations, resulting in adverse consequences for the patient, the liability of the physician may be committed if his / her action or omission is the result of guilty behavior. Guilty behavior is not only in cases of deliberate behavior. The behavior is also guilty and when the doctor knew about the consequences, but because of negligence he did not prevent or did not know them, but given his job he should have known them.
The responsibility of the doctor (and / or the medical institution) can be undertaken in two directions: Administrative and Judicial, the latter being punishable, administrative or criminal.
Administrative-penal is the responsibility when the control is carried out by an administrative body, and for the act in law an administrative penalty is provided.
In the case of damaging actions of ethical nature, the patient may file a complaint with the ethics committee of the regional college of the professional organization. The Ethics Committee is required to rule within 30 days. Decisions may be appealed before the Central Medical Ethics Committee. Violations of the Code of Professional Ethics are being considered. Similarly, the Bulgarian Dental Association has similar bodies.
In case of dissatisfaction with the treatment, whatever the nature, a complaint may be filed with the Medical Audit Executive Agency. The Agency carries out an inspection and, in case of a finding of violations, may impose a proprietary sanction - a fine for the natural or legal person. Acts of the EAMO are subject to judicial review by the District Court.
In cases where the treatment is provided by the NHIF, a complaint may be filed with the relevant RHIF. RHIF may refuse to pay the treatment and impose a pecuniary penalty. For serious violations of the contract, the same may be terminated. The acts of the NHIF are also subject to judicial review by the relevant regional or administrative court.
Criminal cases are brought when there are reasonable suspicions of a crime. the responsibility of the physician may be committed under Art. 123 of the Penal Code for causing death or 134 for severe or moderate bodily injury. Such doubts may arise, for example, when a patient is not properly treated and as a result has died or there have been permanent irreversible changes in his or her physical or mental state. In such cases, a complaint or a signal is filed with the relevant prosecutor's office. The prosecutor may refuse to initiate or initiate such proceedings. The refusal may be appealed to the higher-level prosecutor. Upon completion of the preliminary proceedings, the Prosecutor charges the accused and brings the case to court.
The applicant may join the case as a civil claimant and a private prosecutor by claiming compensation for material and non-material damages.
Claims for damages may also be brought after the end of the criminal proceedings in a separate civil process.
Civil cases are governed by the Civil Procedure Code, based on the Obligations and Contracts Act. Compensation for non-pecuniary and / or pecuniary damage is claimed. The petition is filed by the injured person, who may be the injured person himself or his relatives and heirs if he has died. It is based on the principle that everyone is obliged to remedy the damage that guiltily caused to another.
Cases may be brought against a separate physician or against the hospital. In the latter case, it is not necessary to prove the specific fault of the individual doctor.
In all cases of civil cases, a state fee is payable, which is 4% of the amount of the claim for damages. Additional costs should be foreseen for forensic expertise as is required in most cases. The costs of a lawyer are negotiable and may not be lower than the minimum rate set by an ordinance.
Where the claimant is a low-income person, he may ask the court to be exempt from fees and expenses, and in this case a Declaration of Form shall be filed. The court judges on a case-by-case basis. In such cases, the claimant may ask the court to appoint him an official attorney whose costs are paid by the Legal Aid Bureau.
Further information on court cases can be found in the "Last Judicial Information" menu.
Other analyzes and information on patients' rights and how to protect them can be found on our website here.
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