Ecuador: Doctors Protest Reforms to Criminal Malpractice Law

EspañolMedical professionals have widely rejected recent reforms to Ecuador’s criminal malpractice law, sanctioned by the country’s National Assembly on Tuesday. Doctors expressed key concerns toward article 146, which regulates malpractice homicides.

Article 146 states “the person who violates a citizen’s rights through the exercise or practice of his profession, and causes someone’s death, will be sanctioned with a term of imprisonment from one to three years . . . if death is the result of unnecessary, dangerous, and illegitimate actions.” The ambiguity in the last part of the article has been the subject of complaints from doctors, who claim it needs to be redrafted.

Doctors have demonstrated their discontent in various ways. In Eugenio Espejo Hospital, doctors hang their uniforms and leave work everyday at 10:00 am. In IESS Hospital, some doctors have outright quit their jobs. To make their voices heard, medical professionals have called for a peaceful nation-wide rally to take place on Tuesday.

Guillermo Bastidas, president of Tungurahua Medical College, has stated that doctors will propose a national strike to the Ecuadorian Medical Federation, in both public and private sectors. Among other alternatives, doctors may submit a bill to amend the article or file a suit for the article’s unconstitutionality.

Sources: El Telégrafo y La Hora.

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