Mediation in medicine

Mediation and its parties

Disputes in the health sector arise primarily in connection with the provision of medical care, and the parties to such disputes are the doctor and the patient. Patient is a person receiving medical care, for whom medical care and (or) treatment is carried out in connection with a certain disease, pathological condition or other health and life disorder. Also, the patient can use medical services regardless of the presence of a disease, for example, for prophylactic or cosmetic purposes.

Taking into account the number of existing disputes between doctors and patients, the issue of protecting the rights of subjects in the healthcare sector is becoming especially relevant. The main ways to protect the rights of patients and doctors are:

  • judicial,
  • pre-trial.

For Ukrainian society, the traditional way of restoring violated rights is to apply to court, but legal proceedings do not always satisfy the true interests of the parties. Due to the ineffectiveness of the judicial system, relatively new, alternative methods of dispute resolution, including medical ones, are increasingly being used.

Taking into account the emotional coloring of disputes in the “doctor-patient” relationship, it seems most expedient to resolve such disputes through mediation. Mediation in translation from lat. mediare means “to be a mediator”. In the modern sense, it is a method of resolving disputes with the involvement of a mediator, who helps to analyze a conflict situation in such a way that interested parties can independently choose a solution option that meets the interests and needs of all participants.

An informal mediation process allows both parties to be directly involved in resolving the conflict: for example, doctors can explain how the litigation affects their ability to help other patients. In addition, mediation is very time efficient. According to international practice, the average duration of mediation is from 1 to 3 days, and the closure of cases from start to finish is from 85 to 165 days.

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Stages of mediation

Classical mediation has the following stages:

  • consultation and selection of a mediator;
  • preparation for mediation;
  • conclusion of an agreement on the mediation procedure;
  • mediation sessions (general and separate – caucuses);
  • search for a solution acceptable to both parties;
  • conclusion of a mediation agreement;
  • execution of a mediation agreement.

However, in practice, in resolving a dispute, there is not always a need to go through all the stages of mediation. In some cases, one meeting is enough, at which, after smoothing out emotions, it is possible to immediately resolve the conflict. Then the parties can move independently, without the help of a mediator. Therefore, the main task of a mediator is to create conditions of maximum openness and trust, under which each of the parties can hear the other and realize/understand its interests.

The effectiveness of mediation in the medical field is quite high, because conflicts in it are mostly situational, without a “history” of long-term negative relations between the parties, which often prevent reaching an agreement.

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