The obligation to provide medical assistance and the employee’s right to refrain from performing work in conditions that do not comply with occupational health and safety regulations and without personal protective equipment – dilemmas during the epidemic of COVID-19


This article was originally published here

Med Pr. November 8, 2021: 14 1831. doi: 10.13075 / mp.5893.01186. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: With the emergence of an extraordinary situation in Poland linked to the state of the COVID-19 epidemic, the question has returned to the public debate as to whether under conditions contrary to health and safety in the work, due to the lack of personal protective equipment, medical personnel have the right to refrain from carrying out work. The National Labor Inspector has made it clear that abstention from work does not apply to an employee whose employee’s duty is to save life or property. The purpose of the article is to analyze the premises of art. 210 of the Labor Code in the context of medical law and professional ethics and to provide the doctrine with an incentive to research the difficult question.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: It uses the method of analysis of current provisions of labor law and medical law. The jurisprudence of the Supreme Court and the views of the doctrine were analyzed.

RESULTS: The salaried duty of a doctor and a nurse is always the obligation to “help” and “within the framework” of this obligation, the medical personnel, unlike “all the employees”, do not have the relevant right to abstain. Within the framework of the rules of practice of the medical profession providing for an exception, that is to say the omission of the doctor to take or withdraw from the treatment of a patient for important reasons, in a situation where he there is no rush.

CONCLUSIONS: The starting point is therefore the distinction between the provisions of the Labor Code of a general character legis generalis and the provisions of the law on the profession of doctor and dentist as specific provisions legis specialis. A salaried doctor cannot agree to practice under conditions which expose patients to harm. The abstention from work by a doctor as a referral employee is subject to limitations. Med Pr. 2021; 72 (6).

PMID: 34747933 | DOI: 10.13075 / mp.5893.01186

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