15.12.2003 | Inna Sukhorukova, Kharkov

Absurd in the country of absurd, or some thoughts about the new Civil Code


The magazine “PiK” (No. 19, 16-22 May 2003) published the article by Tetiana Chornivil “How the deputies established the truth in the last instance”. The journalist analyzed the articles of the second volume of the new Civil Code of Ukraine “Personal non-property rights of physical persons”. She writes that some of the articles, which concern the information sphere, are absurd. In this article the journalist quoted her talks with deputies about the Code adopted by them, and I calmed down, since reading the CC I thought that the majority of our Parliament went crazy. Yet, the deputies told that they merely did not read the document, for which they voted. It happens!

However, the consequences of this not-reading will affect the Ukrainian citizens, including the deputies. In particular, part 3 of Article 277, which reads: “Negative information about a person is regarded as inauthentic”, will cause the material losses of journalists and other persons, and Articles 282 and 283 can cause the loss of health or even life. Let us read together part 2 of Article 284: “A physical person that attained the fourteenth year and turned for medical aid have the right for choosing the doctor and methods of treatment according to doctor’s recommendations” or item 3: “Medical aid to a physical person that attained 14 years old is rendered after his/her consent”.

Is it possible that the deputies, who read the code, and the lawyers, who compiled it, were not confused by these ideas? We can assume that they have no children of this age, but it seems that they must remember themselves, when they were 14. How a teenager of 14 years old can choose the doctor, the methods of treatment, how can he estimate the state of his health? Children and minors have absolutely different level of intellect; every juvenile doctor or psychologist can confirm this. As a rule, minors and children are afraid of medical procedures, especially injections, not to mention surgical operations. Even parents must persuade their children for a long time to undergo some medical procedures. And now the children get the legal right to reject the medical aid. It is easy to imagine the consequences… Only one fact is calming: even adults do not read laws in our country. Yet, it may happen that the instructions for doctors will be supplemented with some corresponding items, for instance: before making a vaccination or taking blood for analysis a doctor must obtain the consent of the child, if the child’s age is more than 14 years. And do not think that I want to drive the situation to absurd. We already have the law “On psychiatry”, which states that a psychiatrist, who comes to a patient after the summon of relatives or neighbors, must, first of all, announce his name and post and to ask the patient, who is potentially psychically ill, whether he agrees to be examined by psychiatrist. And if the patient refuses the examination, the doctor must go away. Maybe, this is the reason, why now there are so many criminals with psychic disorders? The number of such people in streets and transport also became more… All this is a result of good intentions of those, who took part in the development of this law, and who did not want to listen to the opinions of psychiatrists being sure that the latter were the guilty of the repressions of Brezhnev’s times, when dissidents were thrown to madhouses. Part 4 of the same article reads: “An adult capable physical person, who realizes the sense of his/her actions and can control the actions, have the right to refuse from medical treatment”. This means that any person older than 16 years has the right for suicide. Yet, the right to choose the methods of treatment looks not better. Doctors know that frequently it is impossible to learn the real situation without the thorough medical examination. And if a patient rejects the medical treatment, then who would examine him? Maybe, physicians did not see this article yet.

The situation with Article 285 “The right for the information about one’s health” is also rather sad. The deputies and lawyers should turn the attention to the norm of Article 23 of the Law of Ukraine “On information” and the decision of the Constitutional Court of 16 October 1997 on the case of K. Ustimenko. Article 285 of the new version of the CC openly contradicts part 3 of the decision of the Constitutional Court: “If the information about a decease of a physical person can worsen the state of his/her health or the state of health of the physical persons listed in part 2 of this article, or impede the process of medical treatment, then medical staff have the right to give the incomplete information about the health of the physical person and to restrict the access to some medical documents” (part 2 mentions such persons as parents (adoptive parents), guardians, etc.). How doctors can know whether the information would damage the health of these persons? Maybe, the legislators meant parents (adoptive parents) and guardians, who are ill or handicapped? But where is it written? And how does it agree with Article 284 stipulating the right for the renunciation of medical treatment? Who would be responsible, if a patient would reject the medical aid on the basis of incomplete information?

By the way, the Constitutional Court did not restrict the right of patients for obtaining the complete and authentic medical information (this also concerns the persons mentioned in part 2 of Article 285).

The doctors, who specialize in infectious deceases, must tender their special thanks to deputies for part 1 of Article 287, according to which it is prohibited to restrict the access of relatives, lawyers, notaries and priests to the patients, who stay in hospitals. And all of us must be thankful to the deputies for the provisions of Article 293, the second part of which gives to us the right to demand the termination of the activities of physical and juridical persons, if these activities result in air pollution. This right is very “realistic”, especially for such great cities as Kharkov, where air is full of exhaust, and local deputies initiate and realize felling of trees, because these trees prevent the installation of advertisement boards or booths that increase the profit of the local budget. So, respected city inhabitants, you must immediately demand to stop all cars and plants. Yet, this article does not give the right to demand from the corresponding services to monitor the state of the environment and to take measures for its improvement.

The absurd provisions of the new Civil Code have been already discussed by many mass media, for instance in the newspaper “Dzerkalo nedeli”.

I want to turn the attention of readers to the following problem. The public is very interested in the right for information, and the right for medical aid and the problems connected with it do not disturb the society very much. Miserable salaries make the medical doctors to give up their job or, at best, to find job in the commercial medical establishments. The most socially important spheres – health protection and education – are, as usually, ignored by public. First of all – by patients, because everyone becomes a patient sooner or later, even deputies and state authorities. Unfortunately, they do not understand this. Otherwise we would not wait for such a long time for the insurance medicine in the form practiced in the whole world.

However, today we have what we have – the new Civil Code, the size of which is very impressive, but which requires the thorough analysis and modification of the articles that are not only absurd, but may have the negative consequences.

Respected deputies, please, read this important documents, it is not very difficult. Maybe, you will want to change something…

P. S.The last issue of the newspaper “Dzerkalo nedeli” describes the events connected with the adoption of the new Civil Code from another point of view. The deputies, who read the Code, insist: the notorious Article 277, which a priori considers any negative information to be inauthentic, was stated in the following way: “Negative information spread about a person is regarded as inauthentic, if the facts were not proved by the spreader”.

The deputies affirmed that they voted for this version of the article, but the second part of the statement vanished in the secretariat before handing it to the President for signature. So, it appears that our life, democracy and everything that happens in the country depends on the will of the clerks of the Supreme Rada!

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