Overcoming Paternalistic Approach to Patients

man in blue dress shirt beside man in white dress shirt


Human Rights and Values in Biomedicine – Democratisation of Decision-Making in Healthcare and its Implementation


Legal science


Research and promotion of active formal and real implementation of European and international documents, crucial for the field of healthcare, and especially when it comes to making health-related decisions and participation of citizens – patients.


Serbia signed the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, but did not ratify it so that it could become a part of the national legal system. Furthermore, the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human rights has remained unknown in Serbian professional and scientific circles.

When it comes to the subject of certain project activities, the emphasis was put on democratisation of making health-related decisions and overcoming of paternalistic approach to patients. The goal has been to investigate from the perspective of the discipline of medical law, the processes of decision-making in healthcare, in terms of state bodies’ and instances duty, as well as on the level of individual decision-making and inclusion of citizens into this, as an aspect of the democratic process.


The project team started from the fact that legal expressions of phenomena, relations and human values in the domain of biomedicine are really topical nowadays and have been in a kind of expansion. On one hand, the progress of biomedical sciences has been causing constant doubts about where the limits of what is allowed in medical procedures are, due to the more and more risk that this progress implies. On the other hand, the need of managing the risks of such progress occurs, both when it comes to duties of the state authorities and instances that make decisions in healthcare, and on the level of individual decision-making and inclusion of citizens in it, as an aspect of the democratic process.

Central in creating better conditions for these processes is implementation of two important international documents, relevant for the internal legal system of the Republic of Serbia. The first project task was thus indeed finding proper arguments in the context of human rights in favour of quick ratification of these documents and their implementation.


The project team had ten associates and five co-realisers working on the theoretic and practical questions of a comprehensive consideration and implementation of the project task, including a great number of articles, one collection of papers, two doctoral dissertations and a number of thematic presentations selected for domestic and international scientific conferences.

The project resulted not only in theoretical progress, which was designed as its primary aim, but also practical influence on legislative changes in Serbia, as well as on public policies in the healthcare and social sectors. The project deepened the understanding of legal science in a number of disciplines, and especially in medical and healthcare law.

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