The Notion of “Medical Intervention”

The general frame and the borders of medical intervention are determined by our Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine. Following this understanding, we can see that medical intervention is defined as every operation done to diagnose a deficiency or a disease regarding a person's mental or physical health.

To downplay or to prevent the worsening of the condition in cases where treatment is not possible, to reduce the pain, to prevent possible upcoming diseases or to aim family planning on a legal basis. All of these must be carried out by people authorised by law according to definite rules and principles that medical science sets forth.

What is the Meaning of Medical Intervention?

According to Regulation of Patient Rights, Article 4, paragraph 1, section g, medical intervention is defined as the following:

"Physical and mental initiative carried out within the boundaries of medicine by the relevant professional obligations and standards for the protection of health, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases, applied by people authorised to perform the medical profession."

Medical intervention may also be defined as a physical and mental initiative within the boundaries of medicine, in which the practice is carried out by the persons authorised to perform the medical profession within the framework of diagnosis, treatment, or legal purpose.

What are the Types of Intervention?

There are two types of interventions in the medical sense. 

  1. Preventive This type of intervention refers to the medical process that aims to prevent a disease from occurring.
  2. Therapeutic This intervention refers to all the processes the physician performs to mitigate or postpone the symptoms of a disease. 

While making a case about malpractice and legal liability, knowing the differences between these two terms is essential, as small details can make or break a case. 

What are the Main Categories of Medical Interventions?

As seen above, four fundamental conditions are required for medical intervention. These primary conditions are:

  • The intervention being made by the physician (medical personnel),
  • Indication, 
  • Informed consent of the patient,
  • The intervention follows the parameters of medical science.

We are going to explain the meaning of all the above shortly. But if you need professional help regarding your specific situation, you can contact Istanbul Lawyer Firm and benefit from our firm's experienced and knowledgeable attorneys. 

Medical Intervention to Be Carried Out by Authorized Persons

Authorisation to make medical intervention will be considered lawful when it is granted by law. The ones that have the authority to make medical interventions are physicians, midwives, medical personnel, nurses, dentists, caregivers and dental prosthesis technicians. This means that the authority belongs to the physicians.

Consequently, the general rules for the authorisation are as follows:

  • The definition, name, authority borders, and duties of the profession must be regulated legally.
  • The profession should be gained by related education in the field.
  • The diploma or professional document should be approved/accepted by the Ministry of Health. 

Only by meeting these standards can medical intervention be carried out. 

Medical Necessity (Indication)

According to Article 17, paragraph 2 of the Constitution, no one's physical integrity might be violated except by medical necessity. The indication is the valid ground for medical assistance or making medical intervention; therefore, an indication is one of the elements that legalise medical intervention.

Elucidation and Consent

For a person to decide on an operation freely and soundly to be carried out on them, s/he must know the contents of the process, possible outcomes, and possible benefits or harms of the operation; that is, s/he must be enlightened.

According to the Regulation of Patient Rights, Article 15, the patient should be informed about the matters as follows:

  • The possible reasons underlying the disease and how it will possibly proceed
  • How, where, and by whom the medical intervention will be made, and what is the estimated duration of the procedure,
  • Other choices of diagnosis and treatments, the benefits and harms these choices might cause, and possible effects of them on the patient's overall health,
  • Possible complications,
  • Feasible benefits and risks in case of rejection,
  • The main features of the medications to be used,
  • Recommendations on the lifestyle that are critical for the patient's overall health,
  • How to get medical assistance on the same subject when needed.

In short, every patient has the right to know the details of their condition. Emphasised by law, this is a vital part of medical intervention. 

The Legal Definition of Consent

According to Article 26 of the Turkish Medical Association Profession Ethics Rules, informed consent is defined as follows:

The physician should enlighten the patient about the patient's health condition and the diagnosis, the type of the recommended treatment method, the chance and duration of the treatment method, the risks of the treatment method for the patient's health, the usage and possible side effects of the medications, the consequences of the disease if the patient does not accept the recommended treatment, possible treatment options and the issues of risks. 

This enlightenment should be made in an appropriate manner that pays attention to the patient's cultural, social, and mental state. Information should be given in a form understandable by the patient, and the patient themself determines the people to be informed beside them. All kinds of health-related initiatives can be made with the free and informed consent of the person. The consent obtained is invalid if it has been obtained through pressure, threats, incomplete disclosure, or deception. 

Elucidation Liability

Elucidation liability belongs to the physician that proceeds with the treatment and performs the medical intervention. The person to be enlightened is the patient subject to the medical intervention. This means that the patient themselves is the one that should be directly informed about the medical interventions s/he will face using their right to determine their future.

The extent of the enlightenment is stated in Article 15 of the Regulation of Patient Rights and Article 26 of the Turkish Medical Association Profession Ethics Rules. Unless there is an emergency, a reasonable and appropriate time to decide should be allowed for the patient. As per the rule, elucidation should be made one day before the surgery at the latest.

The Consent Statement

It is of great importance that the physician fulfils the obligation of elucidation in the consent to be given by the patient regarding the intervention. The consent statement should be made before the intervention. However, depending on the nature of the concrete incident, the latest is at the time of the intervention. Although consent can be given explicitly or implicitly, either will not remove the physician's obligation to inform. Furthermore, consent can be expressed verbally. However, the provisions in the legislation regarding obtaining written permission are reserved. Previous consent can be revoked at any time.

Medical Intervention Under the Parameters of Medical Science

For the medical intervention to be lawful, it should be performed by the parameters of medical science.

Article 11 of the Regulation of Patient Rights states:

The patient has the right to request diagnosis, treatment, and care by modern medical knowledge and technology requirements.

Diagnosis and treatment of a deceptive nature or contrary to the principles of medicine and the provisions of the legislation on medication cannot be made.

As the article indicates, every patient has the right to seek medical assessment, medication, and maintenance that conform to contemporary medical technological advances and knowledge. If this intervention is performed carelessly, neglective, and contrary to the requirements of medical science, the operation of the physician will be against the law. Malpractice, meaning compensation action, might be commenced against the physician that performed an unlawful intervention. 

Why is Medical Intervention Important?

Medical interventions are the primary responsibility of physicians. All patients have the right to a definitive diagnosis and proper medical care. This is because medical interventions considered malpractice might have long-lasting adverse effects on people. In such cases, applying to a Turkish malpractice lawyer might be the best option.

An expert lawyer can only determine that the medical intervention is not under the law. If it turns out that the medical intervention is indeed done unlawfully, you will be entitled to compensation, as malpractice will be in question. At ER&GUN&ER Law Firm, we can help you get compensation for malpractice due to faulty medical intervention.

As a law firm located in Istanbul, we might help you commence this action in Turkish health law legislation. To avoid losing the legal case, it might be best to consult an attorney specialising in such laws. At Istanbul Lawyer Firm, we are here to help you find the right attorneys for your specific case.