Nursing Law and Jurisprudence Nelia B. Perez RN, MSN Northeastern College Santiago City, Philippines 3311
Jurisprudence on Fault & Negligence
“at fault” – the nurse’s action is contrary to what should have been done to the patient.
“negligent” – when there is failure in observing the necessary protection of interests and wellness of the patient – the degree of care, precaution and vigilance which circumstances demand, whereby such patient suffers an injury or even death.
Jurisprudence on Negligence test
Prevention is the best defense in Law.
Negligence may be criminal or not criminal.
It is criminal when it results to a acrime; not criminal when it is either contractual or quasi-delictual.
General Divisions of Law
Natural Law – an integral part of nature because it is immutable and inherent in the nature of man or every element or part of the universe.
Positive Law – a precept made and imposed by someone in authority.
- divine law
- human law
Applicable laws and jurisprudence in nursing practice
Constitutional Law is that branch of the science of laws which treats of the nature of constitutions, their adoptions and amendments, their construction and interpretation and of the validity of legal enactments as tested by the criterion of their conformity to the law of the land.
Kinds of Constitution
Cumulative or evolved constitution is one that originates in customs, common law principles, decisions or courts, etc.
Conventional constitution is an enacted constitution because it is deliberately passed by a representative body or a ruler.
Written constitution is one where the provisions are embodied in one document or sets of documents while an unwritten constitution is one where most of the provisions are not in a single document but scattered in various sources such as customs and traditions, statutory enactments of a fundamental character, judicial decisions and certain common law principles.
Kinds of Constitution (cont)
Rigid constitution is one that can be amended only by a formal and usually difficult process, whereas a flexible constitution is one that can be changed by ordinary legislation.
Kinds of Constitution (cont)
Criminal Law – the branch of law which defines crimes, treats of their nature and provides for their punishment.
- Aptly described as the instrument of criminal policy for it is in criminal law that are found
- it covers offenses resulting to injuries or death of the patients.
Prosecution of a criminal offense resulting to injuries…
Size, shape and incursion
Re: Death of a patient..
Homicide / murder / parricide
Useful pieces of evidences for the criminal offenses
Objects on or with the body
Tissues and body fluids
Other medical evidence or findings
R.A. 3815 – otherwise known as Revised Penal Code (RPC) which was approved on December 8, 1930 which defines crimes, treats of their nature and provides for their punishment.
Civil Law - the branch of Law that pertains to the organization of the family and the regulation of property. It has been defined as the mass of precepts which determine and regulate the relations of assistance, authority and obedience among the members of a family, and those which exist among members of a society for the protection of private interests.
R.A. 386, popularly known as the New Civil Code (NCC) or the Civil Code of the Philippines took effect on August 30, 1950 and covers the following aspects of human life; persons and family relations, property rights and ownership, the modes of acquiring ownership, obligations and contracts and special contracts. One important amendment to this code is EO 209, the Family Code, amending its provisions on marriage and family relations.
Labor Law is that branch of Law that governs and regulates the relationship of employers and employees. Broadly called “labor legislation” , it consists of statutes, regulations and jurisprudence governing the relations between capital and labor, by providing for certain employment standards and legal framework for negotiating, adjusting and administering those standards and other incidents of employment.
Labor Law (CONT)
Labor Standards Law – “that which sets out the minimum terms, conditions and benefits of employment must provide or comply with and to which employees are entitled as a matter of right.
Labor Relations Law – defines the status, rights and duties and the institutional mechanisms, that govern the individual and collective interactions of employers, employees or their representatives.
Promulgated as P.D. No 442 on May 1 1974 and took effect on November 1, 1974 except portions on Book IV whose effectivity was deferred to January 1, 1976 by P.D. No. 608.
Administrative Law is that branch of law which deals with the activities or functions of executive or administrative agencies such as the “departments”, bureaus, boards or commission or all other offices under the administrative supervision of the office of the President, which are created and vested by Law with qusi-judicial, quasi-legislative and executive powers.
Administrative Law (cont)
Executive Order No. 292 is the principal law in the study of administrative laws in the Philippines and was promulgated by then President Corazon Aquino dated July 25, 1987, otherwise known as the “Administrative Code of 1987”, which incorporated in a single document the major structural, functional and procedural guidelines of governance.
Administrative Law (cont)
Professional Regulation Commission (PRC)
Three main functions
Functions of the PRC
To investigate and decide cases against erring examinees and professionals;
To formulate and promulgate policies and guidelines on administrative investigation and professional regulations.
To implement the laws, regulatory policies and standards; and
To maintain and promote professional and occupational standards and ethics.
Civil Service Law is that branch of law which deals with the civil service in all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies of the government including government-owned or controlled corporations with an original charter.
Civil Service Law (cont)
Primary purpose is to establish and maintain a merit system in the selection of public officers and employees without regard to sex, color, social status or political affiliation.
General purpose is to ensure and promote the constitutional mandate regarding appointments, particularly according to the merit and progressive system of personnel administration to ensure the maintenance of an honest, efficient, progressive and courteous civil service in the Philippines.
Civil Service Commission
P.D. No. 110 dated January 26, 1973, created the Civil Service Commission (CSC), replacing the CSC established under R.A. no 2260.
repealed by PD No. 807 otherwise known as the Civil Service Decree of the Philippines, which was superceded by Subtitle A, Title I, Book V of E.O. No 292, the Administrative Code of 1987, E.O. No 292, which codified the major structural, functional and procedural principles of governance, is the basic legal document in the study of civil service law.
Case is that body of the prevailing jurisprudence or decisions of the Supreme Court interpreting the laws or the Constitution or applying them to certain sets of facts or actual cases and controversies.
Actions brought to the court or tribunal.
Any action, complaint, charge, case or legal proceeding brought before the court of law, tribunal or quasi-judicial body, in which the party commencing the case seeks a legal remedy.
It is initiated by any person who is called the plaintiff in civil action or the complainant in other lawsuits, against another who is called the defendant in civil actions or the respondent in administrative case or the accused in criminal case.
Three (3) basic lawsuits are civil, criminal and administrative.
The parties in a lawsuit:
a. Civil actions, the plaintiff against the defendant.
b. Criminal Actions , the people against the accused.
c. Administrative cases, the complainant against respondent.
An obligation or duty which is owed by one person to another to refrain from some course or conduct injurious to the latter or to perform some act or to do something for the benefit of the latter and for breach of which the law gives the remedy to the latter as damages, restitution, specific performance, and / or injunction.
Simply the legal responsibility for acts or failure to act according to standards, protocols or policies of the hospital, resulting in another person’s injury or death.
It means legal accountability or obligation to pay money, do or refrain to do something, and / or serve penalty as adjudged by the court or administrative body.
A framework, set of rules, procedural steps, or test, often established through precedent in the common law through which judgments can be determined in a given legal case or lawsuit.
Generally accepted principle of law which is being used or applied in the resolution of cases, be it administrative, civil or criminal.
Kinds of Civil Liability
Actual or compensatory damages pertain to losses that are actually sustained by the plaintiff. These are “such compensation or damages for an injury and will put the injured party in the position in which he was before he was injured.
Moral Damages are awarded by reason of physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched, reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation and similar injury.
Nominal damages are awarded for vindication or recognition of a legal right.
Temperate or moderate damages are those damages which are more than nominal but less than compensatory damages which may be recovered when the court finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered but its amount cannot, from the nature of the case, be proved with certainty.
Liquidated damages are those damages agreed upon by the parties to a contract, to be paid in case of breach thereof.
Exemplary or corrective damages are those imposed by way of example or correction for the public good, in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages.
Lawsuits in Nursing Practice
Felony - RPC
Offense - special law
Infraction - ordinance
Criminal Negligence, mala in se and mala prohibita
Criminal Negligence – committed by means of faulty (culpa); deceit (dolo) (mala in se) and those which are punished by special law (mala prohibita).
Kinds of criminal negligence
Reckless imprudence – doing or failing to do an act resulting to injuries or death due to an inexcusable lack of precaution.
Simple imprudence - mere lack of precaution in a situation where threatened harm is not immediate or the impending danger is not openly visible or manifest.
Culpa Contractual (breach of Contract) – when a nurse is contractually obligated to perform a particular health service or intervention to a patient and he/she causes death or injuries to the latter.
Culpa aquiliana a tortous liability which arises from the breach of a professional duty to any person fixed by the laws and such breach constitutes violation of a private legal right, not created by any contract.