Personal Characteristics

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Legal Responsibilities

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary:

LAW is defined as all the rules of conduct established and enforced by the authority, legislation, or custom of a given community or other group.
Criminal Lawdeals with wrongs against a person, property or society. The offender can go to jail or prison.
Examples of criminal laws:

  • Practicing in a health care profession without a required license

  • Misuse of narcotics

  • Theft

  • Murder

Civil Lawdeals with legal relationships between people and the protection of a person’s rights.
Health Care is mainly affected by Civil Law.


Tortfrom the French word, “wrong.”

Tort can be defined as a civil wrong committed against a person or property excluding breach of contract.

Malpractice interpreted as “bad practice.”

Defined as the failure of a professional

to use the degree of skill and learning commonly expected in a particular profession resulting in injury, loss, or damage to the person receiving care.

Negligence – failure to give care that is normally expected of a person in a particular position, with resulting injury to another person.

Assaultany threat or willful attempt to injure another person with the apparent ability to do so.

Batteryunlawful touching of another person without consent.

Informed consent is permission granted voluntarily by a person who is of sound mind after the procedure and all risks involved have been explained in terms the person can understand.

They understand:

  • What will be done.

  • Who will do it.

  • How it will be done.

  • Expected outcomes.

The patient/client must also understand treatment alternatives and consequences of not having treatment.

The health care worker does not perform the procedure if the patient does not give consent.

Invasion of privacy unnecessary exposure of an individual or revealing personal information about an individual without consent.

False imprisonment restraining an individual or restricting an individual’s freedom.

Defamation of character damaging a person’s name and/or reputation by making public statements that are false and malicious.
There are two types:

Libelif the information released is written

Slanderif the information released is spoken.

Abuseany abuse that results in physical harm, pain, or medical anguish. Abuse can be classified as:

Physical – hitting, forcing persons against their will, restraining movements, depriving of food or H2O, or not providing physical care.

Verbal – talking harshly, swearing or shouting, teasing, ridiculing, intimidating a person.

Sexual – any unwanted sexual touching or act.
**Laws in all states require reporting of any form of abuse to proper authorities.**

A Contract is a voluntary agreement between two or more parties

It has three parts:

1. Offer – competent individual enters into a relationship with health care providers and offers to be a patient.
2. Acceptance – health care provider gives an

appointment or examines or treats a patient.

  1. Considerationpayment made by the patient

for services provided.
Types of Contracts:

  1. Implied – gives rise to contractual obligations by some action or inaction without verbally expressed terms.

2. Expressed– actual agreement between the parties, the terms are stated in distinct and explicit language, either orally or in writing.

**All parties in a contract must be free of legal disabilities. A person with legal disabilities does not have the legal capacity to form a contract.**

Legal Disabilities

  • Minors

  • Individuals under the influence of drugs that alter the mental state

  • Semi-conscious or unconscious people

Minorsanyone under 18, or the age of majority, is called “an infant” under the law.

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