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ID number:998926
Published: 08.12.2006.
Language: English
Level: College/University
Literature: 16 units
References: Used
Table of contents
Nr. Chapter  Page.
  Introduction    5
I.  The Development of Patient Rights and Right to Medical Privacy    8
1.  The History of Human Rights    8
  A.Human Rights Before the WWII    8
  B.History of Human Rights After the WWII    10
  a. Universal Declaration of Human Rights    10
  b. European Convention on Human Rights    11
2.  Right to Privacy in the Theory and Case Law    14
3.  Right to Privacy in the Context of Medicine    16
  A.The Development of Patient Rights    16
  B.World Health Organization    17
  C.WHO Patient Right Study (1983 – 1989)    19
  D.The Results of the World Health Organization’s Studies    20
4.  The Relationship between the Doctor and the Patient    21
  B.Communication of Medical Data    22
5.  Privacy of Medical Data    23
1.  Right to Privacy in the Context of Medical Care in Latvia    28
2.  Derogations from Confidentiality of Medical Data    29
  A. Public Health and Rights of Other People    30
  a.Court Proceedings    32
  b.Other Public Procedures    33
3.  The Principle of Proportionality    34
4.  The Analysis of Sample Case    36
  A. Facts    36
  B. Was there a Breach of Right to Privacy?    37
  a. Tuberculosis    38
  b. “In accordance with the law”    39
  c. “Legitimate Aim”    40
  d. “Necessary in a democratic society”    40
5.  Other Violations of Patient Rights in Latvia    44
  B.Hospitals    47
  A.Draft Law on Patient Rights    50
  a.Confidentiality of Medical Data    52
  b.Derogations from Right to Medical Privacy    53
  c.Medical Research    54
  d.Mandatory Insurance of Health Professionals    55
  e.Professional Conduct Codes    55
  f.Ombudsmen    56
  g.Sanctions for Violations of Medical Privacy    57
  Conclusion    58

In our rapidly changing and developing society the legal framework must be versatile and able to adopt to new trends. Currently one of the most vulnerable fields is the regulation of patient rights, especially medical privacy since it is rather new direction. Only in last few decades the human rights activists have recognized the importance of legally binding, separate law on patient rights that would explicitly regulate the relationship between the doctor and the patient, as well as ensure the confidentiality of medical data. This is important due to the specific nature of doctor and patient relationship, where basic human rights, especially right to privacy, are unavoidably involved and in certain way violated (e.g., the patient subjects his/her private life to the doctor by revealing private information to the latter). Therefore it is necessary to set the burdens for regulation of such relationships.1
In addition the development of strong protection mechanism of patient rights is required due to the fact that technologies become more advanced. Thus the storage of medical data is converted to the electronic form, which enables it to be reached by third parties more easily. In addition the fact, that with the help of mass media the information may spread out very quickly and reach vast amounts of society, is often a cause of reckless violation of individual’s privacy rights.2
However many countries have not recognized the importance of patient rights and accordingly have failed to implement the respective trends. Latvia is one of the countries that lack effective protection mechanism regarding patient rights and thus has received criticism from the World Health Organization.3 Current pattern in the field of medicine in Latvia, demonstrates the need for a stronger regulations regarding patient rights and especially medical privacy, since from the time of occupation, the society is not able to respect medical privacy of individuals and disregards the fact that medical data cannot be given to any institution that requests it.4
Even though the Law on Patient Rights has been developed in Latvia, it is at the drafting stage. 5 Furthermore the current draft does not include sufficient regulation on certain issues, among others confidentiality of medical data.6 Therefore my paper will focus on the discussion of those gaps in the current and draft legislation in the field of protection of medical privacy as well as patient rights in general.
Thus the main attempt of my thesis is to show the weaknesses and gaps of the protection of patient rights and medical privacy in Latvia and provide the suggestions and optional trends that should be implemented in order to ensure more effective protection and enforcement mechanism of those rights, that would also comply with current standards set by World Health Organization and other related institutions.7 My research will consist of academic materials such as books and scholarly writings, national and international legislative acts, case law from the European Court of Human Rights as well as public information.…

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