Doctor given right to dismiss patient in Turkey

Doctor given right to dismiss patient in Turkey

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Doctor given right to dismiss patient in Turkey

Doctors in Turkey suspended all non-emergency services for one day following the murder of their colleague by the relative of his patient in May 2012. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

An administrative Istanbul court has ruled to give doctors the right to choose their patients, and non-governmental health organizations find the ruling highly positive.

The case in which the ruling was made began when family doctor Alev Doğan claimed she was subjected to violence by patient Ahmet Yavaş and appealed to Istanbul’s Provincial Health Directorate, demanding the patient be removed from her patient list. The directorate, however, rejected Dr. Doğan’s request on the grounds that “an affronted doctor can appeal to a prosecutor’s office.” Following this, the Istanbul Medical Chamber filed a suit against the directorate in administrative court. The court found for the doctor, and ruled for the removal of Yavaş from Doğan’s patient list.

Federation of Family Doctors’ Associations (AHEF) Vice President Tolga Sucu said his organization’s members were thrilled by the court’s decision.

“We had shared our opinion about this issue with the Health Ministry many times before. Patients make nonsensical demands of us. Finally the court’s verdict has paved our way to legal regulation,” he told Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Abuse cases

Sucu also said some doctors were abused by patients, and those “hater patients” can now be dismissed from a given doctor’s care. Asked about the status of the “dismissed patients,” Sucu said they will receive guidance from their district Social Health Center.

“Doctors can refuse to examine patients due to professional or personal reasons, and could abandon their patients without completing their medical treatment. However, under such conditions, they have to inform patients in a timely manner, so that treatment will not be hindered,” the court’s decision read. Meanwhile, Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Chairman Özdemir Aktan said there was nothing unethical about the verdict. “This is a reality: In an emergency any doctor will treat any patient, but if there is no mutual trust between the patient and the doctor, treatment will fail anyway. It’s better to build a new relationship with a new doctor,” Aktan said, speaking to the Daily News.