Legal assessment of the duties to “take care of health” of the person and the state according to Lithuanian legislation

Indrė Špokienė

Abstract


The paper analyzes the peculiarities of the duties to “take case of health” in respect of the person and the state in the legal acts of Lithuania. The duties of the person apply both in respect of the person as the resident of Lithuania and in respect of the person as the patient. As the patient, the person, according to the Law on the rights of patients and compensation for the damage to their health and the internal regulations of health care institutions, is obliged to take care of own health. As the resident of the Republic of Lithuania, the person according to the Law on the health system has to fulfill the duty to take care not only of his/her own, but also of the health of the parents and under age children. The conclusion is made that the requirement for the person who has the legal status of the person is more important, because in case of the failure to fulfill it, certain legal consequences may arise. Meanwhile, the duty of the resident to take care of own health is evaluated as declarative. The general peculiarity that complicates the implementation of the duty “to take care of own health”, and at the same time, the legal assessment, is the lack of clarity and wideness of the concept of “health”. This also applies with the aim of assessing the possibilities of the implementation of the resident’s duties to take care of the health of “own under age children” and “own parents.” Nevertheless, the analysis of provisions of the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania and other legal acts that provide the duty of the parents to maintain their under age children and adequately, the duty of adult children to maintain parents who are in need of the support (fulfilling the health care needs in both cases) allows to claim that both the duty of the parents and the duty of the children to take care of each other’s health under the Law on the health system of the Republic of Lithuania, are not only declarative norms.
The second part of the paper is aimed at analysis of the provision “the state shall take care of people‘s health” of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. It has been established that the crucial presumption of the duty – the implementation of the rights to health care established under international human rights documents (that Lithuania adhered to or ratified). It has been revealed that this duty under the constitutional doctrine of Lithuania is treated more as the function of the state, the public interest, and not the individual right to achieve certain health care services guaranteed by the Constitution. In consideration of the constitutional doctrine, it has to be recognized that the implementation of this duty cannot be separated from the state‘s social and economic situation, the needs and possibilities of the society and the state, and other factors. However, it can be claimed that in certain cases it is possible to argue whether the state which has established a certain requirement really does not infringe the rights of the specific patient/ resident in the field of health care.

Keywords


patient duties; legal regulation of patient‘s duties; patient duty to "look after one’s health"; the obligation of the state to take care of people’s health; duties of Lithuanian residents in the sphere of health care

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"Health Policy and Management" ISSN online 2029-9001 / ISSN print 2029-3569