What are doctors doing in their room

Dissatisfied with the doctor: what to do?

Life & Leisure

Whether it's preventive measures, the flu epidemic or a broken leg: if you have to see a doctor, you often have to put up with some hurdles. First you wait several months for an appointment, then you sit in the waiting room for hours and ultimately the treatment doesn't even go as expected. But you have no choice but to accept that - or not?

I once spoke to lawyer Joachim Indetzki to find out what rights patients have when they visit a doctor. He explains to you what you have to put up with and what not.

What waiting times do you have to accept as a patient at the doctor's?

Whether a dermatologist, dentist or gynecologist: You often wait months for an appointment, especially with specialists in rural areas. Is that even legal? Lawyer Joachim Indetzki knows: "According to the so-called GKV-Supply Strengthening Act, patients should not have to wait longer than four weeks for an appointment - especially not if they have a serious illness." He gives the tip to contact the service point in such a case to contact the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians: "In the event of acute illness, the service point will help, for example, to get an appointment close to home within a week."

When you finally have an appointment, you often sit in the waiting room for what feels like an eternity. Patience is required here! Unfortunately, longer waiting times at the doctor cannot always be avoided. Legal expert Joachim Indetzki said: “A time of up to 30 minutes is definitely acceptable. You have to take this time in any case. If it often takes longer, patients can, for example, complain to the health insurance company or ultimately change doctors - after all, we are free to choose a doctor. "

Dissatisfied with the treatment? You can do that as a patient!

The prescribed ointment does not work as expected or the toothache is still there after weeks despite the operation: If a treatment does not have the desired success, you quickly blame the doctor for the problem. But what can you expect from medical treatment? Lawyer Joachim Indetzki: “The doctor is obliged to treat patients properly. However, he is not responsible for the recovery. ”If you are dissatisfied with the treatment of a doctor, you can turn to the medical association with a patient complaint.

A misjudgment, the wrong medication or an inadvertently operated arm: doctors can sometimes make mistakes too - even if they act to the best of their knowledge and belief. However, these mistakes can be extremely harmful to your own health. If a medical malpractice is suspected, the legal expert recommends consulting a specialist lawyer in any case! The doctor requests the treatment documents from the attending physician and, in the case of patients with compulsory insurance, also informs the health insurance company: “The medical service there is obliged to issue an expert opinion free of charge to examine any treatment error. The same applies to the medical arbitration boards. If a treatment error is suspected, claims for damages and compensation for pain and suffering can then be submitted to the responsible liability insurance company; if the liability insurance company rejects this, of course, legal action is also open. "

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Does the duty of confidentiality also apply to relatives?

Doctors are generally bound by a duty of confidentiality - after all, it is nobody's business what diseases you have or why you have to undergo medical treatment. “Doctors are only allowed to provide information about their patient's state of health if the patient has expressly released him from the obligation to maintain confidentiality,” explains lawyer Joachim Indetzki. But does this also apply to relatives? After all, if your spouse or a close relative is in the hospital, you want to know what's going on - especially if the loved one is unconscious. The legal expert knows: “In principle, relatives have no legal right to information. In practice, however, the doctor often assumes that he is acting in the interests of his patient when he informs the closest relatives of the state of health. ”If you want to be on the safe side: an advance directive offers absolute legal clarity - even at a young age.

What information obligations does the doctor have towards the patient?

Side effects, risks or treatment alternatives: You want to be well informed about everything, especially when you go to the doctor, so that there are no unpleasant surprises in the end. But what are the doctor's duties in terms of providing information? Lawyer Joachim Indetzki: “The doctor is obliged to explain the following points: the course of an operation, its chances of success, the risks and possible treatment alternatives with significantly different burdens. In addition, he must provide information about any financial co-payments by the patient. ”Comprehensive information from the doctor is also required for certain medications:“ If a medication can cause serious side effects, the information in the instructions for use of the pharmaceutical manufacturer is insufficient - the doctor must do this Clearly explain possible problems, ”said the legal expert.

Health is the most important thing! Who hasn't heard this saying a thousand times? If you do have to see a doctor or even a hospital, you can be happy to have an experienced and empathetic doctor by your side. And if not, now you know what to do.

This article was originally published on December 18, 2018 (Disclaimer).

Our partner lawyer

Specialist lawyer Joachim Indetzki has specialized in medical law for many years. He competently supports his clients in asserting their claims for malpractice and accompanies them until an appropriate regulation has been made - even nationwide. As a specialist lawyer for family law, he has also worked successfully for years in divorce and asset disputes. His goal is to develop solutions to avoid lengthy, burdensome and costly divorce proceedings. The lawyer works for the law firm Fahr, Groß and Indetzki in Offenburg.

Joachim Indetzki

Fahr, Groß and Indetzki law firm

This article is part of the series "Private Legal Protection"