Medical law; Bioethics
20 Jul 2011 11:14
Humans have rights since they are only particles with spirits blown into them. The right remains with them until the last moment of their lives. The need for observing each other's rights for having a wholesome society and maintaining serenity and welfare for the public is obvious and the social and individual laws are based on this need. Talking about human rights may resemble many social rites and political norms in societies while not many would think of it in its professional state. One of the careers in which human relations and rights are considered together is being a doctor. The job's main concern is human being and leans on laws that a doctor is know and follow before seeing his patient; Laws that flourish under medical ethics.
IBNA: Dr Mahmoud Abbasi has planted the first medical law bases in Iran and has introduces law, medical ethics, bioethics and … as a professional major in our country Iran, which is what the present dialogue is about.
Dr Abbasi was born in 1963 in Yazd. He spent his school years at Salehizade and Iranshahr schools in 1989 he managed to receive a BA in legal sciences and in 1992 received his MA in criminal laws and criminology. Besides, he had received his BA in Persian literature and MA in international law. In 2004 he received his PhD in medical law from Sorbonne University and is presently a member of the scientific board of the medical ethics group in Maytyr Beheshti University, head of the ethics and medical ethics research center and held of the bioethics group of the human rights, piece and democracy chamber of UNESCO. He is talking with us as a researcher in medical law, bioethics and medical ethics.
Let us know about your job and medical law a little bit more.
Medical law is new branch of legal majors which outlines the ruling regulations on medical and pharmaceutical issues and is in fact works as a meddle branch in law.
Medical law is still incipient in the developed countries and universities of the world and was first introduces in the royal college of England. It was then launched at other top universities of the world. We have also proposed the major as an MA course in our universities which has been ratified by the ministry of science and will soon be practical.
So medical law has not yet been taught at Iranian universities.
It is actually, but together with other legal and medical courses. It is years that I have been teaching the course in universities. In 1995, I conducted medical ethics courses for the first time at Iran's University of Medical Sciences and Semnan University. The course is constantly being taught at other universities on the country like Martyr Beheshti University as well.
I have also taught the course to MA students at the universities of Alameh Tabatabaei and Beheshti. This year the course has been given to PhD level students as well. Besides medical ethics, medical law and medical fiqh are other topics presented to such students.
which students may enjoy the course?
Everyone who has a degree in law and its related fields can enjoy studying the course. However, given the limitations placed by the Higher Education Organization for attending medical law coursed, interested students may pass the prerequisite courses then begin studying the major.
What are your main achievements in medical law?
I first began my job in law. Since 1991, I have served as the judge of medical and pharmaceutical cases. Also I have done many works of translation, research and authorship related to the field of my study. My first book in medical law is a 2-volume collection of articles which was published in 1991. Besides, I authored 12 volumes of a medical law series when I was a Sorbonne university student and have so far finished 30 volumes. Moreover, I have published as many as 50 articles in national and international journals. The book Law, Ethics and Medicine is the titles on one of my translation works by Prof P.D Scage, a distinguished lecturer of English universities. Also, the Comparative Study of Law and Patients published by the World Health Organization is another work of translation by me and Dr Bagher Larijani which we published its Persian rendition back in 1997 by Tehran University Press. The book has so far gone through three print-runs.
The book by the prominent British professor must be an invaluable work. As an Islamic country whose law is mingled with jurisprudence, how much can Iran enjoy the legal systems in medicine practices on other countries?
A part of medical law concerns about theories and general issues. Even when it is related to a legal system, it can be used by the thinkers of other legal bases in other countries. It cannot be said that a medicine is legal in country while it is forbidden in another. Parts of the books deal with interpretation of laws and regulations which may not be closely related to our laws but are meant to bring about an understanding of medical law theories and approaches which would be very necessary for law and medicine students. Therefore, it is compulsory to know about the legal systems on other countries for thinkers.
There are thinkers in Islamic countries who have similar laws with us. Have you considered them in your works?
Yes. There is this book I have rendered into Persian by a Syrian wit and jurist. The book's content is really rich and addresses medical treatments through an Islamic point of view. The author, Dr Gheis Ibn Al Shikh Mobarak, is a Syrian thinker and presented the book as his doctorate thesis and it translated it in 1998.
Presently, the book is being republished. Moreover, I have published some articles as comparative analysis of Islamic viewpoints on issues like transplantation and abortion.
Tell us more about your publications in Sorbonne University.
My Sorbonne releases were topic-based. The first volume of my works was a medical laws guidebook. The second volume was about government regulations of health and treatment affairs and the third volume was about medical surgery and the competence of courts. Other volumes concerned issues like abortion, euthanasia, consent to treatment - consent in medical research - legal developments in medical responsibility, disciplinary responsibility of doctors, exposing patients' secrets and …. The publications are topic based and are being revised at the present.
Which one do these books address, students or researchers?
Because medical law is a newly-born field of study, I have tried to scribe my books in a simple and understandable fashion to be understood by various classes of
the society. However, our main readers are medical and law researchers and students who have welcome the books very well indicating their interest and thirst
for such works.
What is the necessity of reading these books for students of medicine?
One of the major gaps in the medical community which has led to the daily expansion of crimes and violations is the ignorance of medical law and legal standards in this regard. These books are expected to fill the gap and compensate for such shortcomings by acquainting medical communities with the legal standards. Naturally when one knows that what he is doing is against the law would probably avoid it?
You are right, but what I meant was the academic necessity of studying these books for students. On other words, how do universities make their students study your books?
Besides bioethics, considering these topics is a necessity in medical universities. a lecturer of bioethics, for example, must be able to talk about the legal and
jurisprudential aspects of their topic. These aspects are the main concern of medical law. Furthermore, medical law courses are presented to MA students in other
fields of study.
So it cannot be taught as an independent field of study?
No. presently it is not taught as an independent field of study at universities just like bioethics. But some preliminary work have been done so far that have made it compulsory to take bioethics courses in fellowship and PhD levels. Moreover, the MA course of the study will soon be launched at the Martyr Beheshti University.
What other actions have you so far taken with regard to medical law?
For the first time, we launched the medical law quarterly which has gone through its seventh issue and has been widely welcome in the law and medicine communities of the country. I am the journal's proprietor and chief editor. Besides, I have been engaged in commissioning the Scientific Medical Law Association, which has been fortunately passed and we are beginning to launch it. Certainly, within a scientific forum, many valuable works can be done and I hope to make a big change in this regard, given the tendency towards such newly-born fields both in the law and medicine societies.
Besides, my personal website (www.medical-law.ir) was launched in 2004 to provide services to its visitors. To mention some of our activities, formation of the first medical law group licensed by the Ministry of Sciences, Technology and Research can be named. The group resides in a research department which is the first medical law department of Martyr Beheshti University as well. Moreover, the medical law and ethics research center of the university is also being managed by me.
How does the department function?
There are research studies being conducted in the center concerning medical law. Outlining plans and curricula for medical law, ethics and bioethics students MA candidates is another one of the activities pursued by the department. So far, two international conferences and 12 specialized workshops and scientific symposiums have been held in the department.
You were talking about your own activities:
We established the first medical law and ethics research center in the Beheshti University with assistance from a number of thinkers in fiqh, law and medicine. The center comprises five groups, which are, namely, medical history, medical ethics, medical fiqh, medical law and forensic medicine.
Have you so far contacted other universities or scientific centers?
Yes. Right now we are establishing the medical law program in some universities. Moreover, the educational panel of the program is being formed in the university and I hope will round up in as soon as possible. Besides, we have made constructive interactions with other universities or centers which have something to do with medicine and medical law. Centers like the law faculties of universities, Wisdom and Philosophy of Iran Community, Sciences Academy, Medical Sciences Academy, and other centers which in any way might be concerned about our topic of interest have been subject to our contacts so far for expansion of the subject. Also, we have contacted some religious and law centers as well for our purpose. For example, we have signed agreements with the education department of the judiciary, Science-Applied University and the Legal Sciences Faculty for establishment of medical law courses.
Arrangement and attendance at scientific congresses is one of the main activities you mentioned in your speech. How effective are these programs for the law and medical societies?
We held the international congresses in 2007 and 2008. The first international medical law congress in 2007 was held in the presence of many thinkers in ethics, fiqh, and law from Iran and other parts of the world at Martyr Beheshti University. The congress was a great one, indeed, and was widely received in the medical society. Moreover, we managed to hold the second edition of the congress in the following year at Shahre Kord University discussing AIDS and human rights. These and many other moved can be very effective in institutionalizing medical law in the society. Besides, the 12 specialized symposiums and workshops held within the two years were welcome by the medical and legal society so far as the medical society is engaged with challenged mostly interested by our work.
You have developed a number of issues about AIDS in your journals. How does Islam approach the syndrome legally?
The fact of the matter is that we still do not have transparent and vivid laws about the disease in our country given the fact that its transfer requires a detailed discussion. However, the same legal gap is felt in many other countries thanks to its incipience. Various legal and jurisprudential aspects of the disease should be considered in congresses and summits. For example, in the final declaration of the AIDS and human rights congress we considered the issue and put forward a number of proposals for the betterment of its legal status in the country. This does not mean that one would not be convicted for intentionally infecting another one with the virus regarding the fact that Islam has clear instructions for such cases.
How are such legislations made?
Where the medical society feels a legal vacuum and the transactions and activities are not logical as well as legal, ethics are disregarded and religious observance is not observed, laws are made to prevent such happenings. For example, AIDS is subject to a law passed in around 1941 which is the base of our studies about sexually transmitted diseases. However, since the discovery of new contagious diseases like AIDS and hepatitis, no new laws have been made so far. To give you a more precise answer, imagine one who intentionally inflects someone with AIDS. At the present, there are no laws against that. And judges would need to resort to the common law for such proceedings. Such issues have made several gaps in the legal body of the medical society paving the way for making new laws. Imagine a university or a ministry like the ministries of Health and Justice, the Majlis Research Center or even the Islamic Assembly decides to made laws about such issues and practice them. They would inform the Majlis about them and have them ratified. This way mental interaction makes laws.
So we still do not have laws or instructions with regard to such matters?
Not having a law against something does not mean that the case has not been considered before and that no one can pursue one another for those matters.
Such cases are of course considered but there are not direct laws for them yet and as you mentioned it would take a long time for such a law to be made and practiced. Even it would take years for that to happen.
No, that’s not what I said. Things cannot be done impromptu here. First the grounds should be made. In legal proceedings grounds should be made for making laws. For example, books and papers should be written about a case; scientific gatherings must be held; transactions should be made and government and law-makers should be interested to pursue such matters.
How many years is it since the diagnosis of the first HIV-positive patient in Iran?
Almost 22 years.
Don’t you think 22 years is enough for making laws for a disease?
It is not that nothing has been done so far. As I told you such proceedings cannot be done impromptu and many preliminary actions should be taken for a law to be passed and practiced. Such issues must enter the realms of scientific debate and study.
-Judge of Tehran Justice (responsible for medical and medicinal crimes)
-Chief of the Special Medical and Medicinal Branch of the Tehran Province State Judiciary
-Researcher of the Studies and Research Center of Medical Ethics at the Ministry of Health and Medical Education
-Head of the International Affairs Committee of the Iranian Association of Ethics in Science and Technology
-Head of International Cooperation Committee of Iran Scientific Development Population
-Consultant of the Head of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in matters of ethics and medical law
-Chairman of the Standards Committee and the presidential biotech rules headquaters
Educational and research background :
-Lecturer at Imam Ali University, Iran and Semnan Universities of Medical Sciences, Shahed University, Islamic Azad University and Shahid Beheshti University Law School
-Faculty Member of Islamic Azad University - Tehran South Branch
-Director of Legal Studies and Research Group, Islamic Azad University - Tehran South Branch
-Scientific Secretary of the first Workshop of Research Ethics, Islamic Azad University - Tehran Medical Branch, April 2007
-Scientific Secretary of the second Workshop on Research Ethics - Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 2007
-Scientific Secretary of the Third Workshop on Research Ethics, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 2007
-Scientific Secretary of The First Workshop of Medical Rights, Dey Hospital, Persian date Azar 1386
-Scientific Secretary of the Second Workshop of Medical Rights, Atiyeh hospital, Persian date Bahman 1386
-Scientific Secretary of the third Workshop of Medical Law, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Persian date Esfand 1386
-Scientific Secretary of the first Cancer Symposium and Jurisprudence, Legal and Ethical Challenges, Persian date Bahman 1386
-Scientific Secretary of Ophthalmology Workshop and Jurisprudence, Legal and Ethical Challenges, the International Congress of Ophthalmology, Razi Conference Hall, 1386
-Scientific Secretary Avicenna Festival, September, 1386
-Scientific Secretary of the first International Congress of Medical Law, October, 1386
-Director of Law Group, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences
-Launching and managing Fellowship ethics courses in Biology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences
-Major commissioning and management of bioethics, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences
-Proprietor and chief editor of Medical Law Journal
-Editor of the Medical Ethics Journal, Medical Ethics and Law Research Center, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences
-Bioethics group director of the Human Rights, Peace and Democracy Chamber in UNESCO
-Scientific Secretary of National Congress of Medical History, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Persian date Esfand 1387
-Scientific Secretary of the Symposium of Law and Ethics in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, May 1387
-Scientific Secretary of the first Symposium of Ethics and Medical Law, University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, May 1387
-Scientific Secretary of the first Symposium of Ethics and Medical Law, Islamic Azad University, Tehran Medical Branch, April 1387
-Scientific Secretary of the Third Symposium of Medical Ethics and Law, Islamic Azad University, Tehran Medical Branch, Persian date Mordad 1387
-Scientific Secretary of the first Symposium of Ethics and Medical Law, University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, July 1387
-Scientific Secretary of the Second International Congress on Aids Medical Rights and Human Rights University of Medical Sciences, October 1387
-Scientific Secretary of the Qur'an and Medicine Seminar, the Seminary and University Quranic Research Foundation and Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, February 1387
Thesis Guidance and Counseling Background:
- Bankruptcy Fraud And Fault, Islamic Azad University - Central Tehran Branch 1385 - Assistant
- The role of Radio and Television in Kids' crime rate, Islamic Azad University Faculty of Literature and Humanities - Tehran Branch, 1375, Assistant.
- Comparative study of suicide factors, Islamic Azad University - Unit, Rafsanjan, in 1387, Assistant
- Explanation of the legal rules governing medical ethics jurisprudence, Literature And Humanities Faculty of Islamic Azad University - Tehran Central Branch, Consultant.
- Mutual Immigration and asylum policies in Iran and the European Union, School of International Relations, 1384, consultant.
- Rules of international satellite TV, Islamic Azad University - Faculty of Literature and Humanities, 1375, Assistant.
- Drug crimes from the perspective of Criminal Law and Criminology, Master of Criminal Law and Criminology, University of useful, 1385, consultant.
- Svmnambvlysm comparative study on legal systems in Iran, France, England and America, Islamic Azad University - Tehran Central Branch, MS, 1385, Help.
- Civil liability arising from biomedical research, MS, MS University Law School (Qom Campus), 1387, consultant.
- Study the legal approach - Cognitive mass crimes and violations of Medicine, MA thesis, Islamic Azad University - Mashhad Branch, 1387, assistant.
- Civil responsibility resulting from AIDS, MS Law School, Islamic Azad University - Khorasgan Branch, 1387, assistant.
- Study the two gender (Transksvalyty) from the viewpoint of law and medicine, MS, Islamic Azad University - Tehran Central Branch, 1387, consultant.
- Jurisprudential and legal effects of AIDS transmission through sexual contact, MS, Islamic Azad University - Science Research Unit, 1386, consultant
- Criminal responsibility due to medical malpractice, MA, Islamic Azad University - Unit, Rafsanjan, 1387
- S like a crime in the realm of bioethics, School of Qom (Campus) Ph.D. thesis, 1388-1387, Consultant
- Reveal the secrets of professional rights and France, Mofid University, 1387 Advisor
- Marginalized and crime, Islamic Azad University, Tehran Central Branch, 1387, consultant
- Ethical and legal challenges in patients with chronic joint pain, bone thesis biomedical ethics courses Fellowship, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 1387-1386, Help
- The professional responsibility of doctors, Thesis Fellowship Volume biomedical ethics, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 1387-1386, assistant
- Genetic Engineering and challenges of jurisprudence, law and ethics, bioethics Fellowship Volume thesis, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 1387-1386, Help
- Surgery and challenges in jurisprudence, law and ethics, the thesis biomedical ethics courses Fellowship, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 1387-1386, Help
- Competent authorities investigate major crimes and to address specific medicine, Islamic Azad University - Rafsanjan Unit
- Nursing ethics education challenges, the necessity, barriers and develop strategies nursing ethics, thesis biomedical ethics courses Fellowship, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 1387-1386, Help
-Assessment of the international regulations for TV satellites, Islamic Azad University- Literature and Humanities Faculty, 1996, assistant teacher
-Drug crimes from the perspective of Criminal Law and Criminology, Master of Criminal Law and Criminology, University of Mofid, 1385, consultant
- comparative study on somnambulism in the legal systems in Iran, France, England and America, Islamic Azad University - Tehran Central Branch, MS, 2005, assistant
-Civil liability arising from biomedical research, MS, MS University Law School (Qom Campus), 2007, consultant
- Study of the legal approach – criminology of crimes and violations in Medicine, MA thesis, Islamic Azad University - Mashhad Branch, 007, assisstant
- Civil responsibility resulting from HIV transmission, MS Law School, Islamic Azad University - Khorasgan Branch, 2007, assistant
- Examination trans-sexuality from the viewpoint of law and medicine, MS, Islamic Azad University - Tehran Central Branch, 2007, consultant
- Jurisprudential and legal effects of AIDS transmission through sexual contact, MS, Islamic Azad University - Science Research Unit, 2006, consultant
- Criminal responsibility due to medical malpractice, MA, Islamic Azad University - Unit, Rafsanjan, 2007
- Criminology in the realm of bioethics, School of Qom (Campus) Ph.D. thesis, 2008-2007, Consultant
- Revelation of the professional secrets of law in Iran, France, Mofid University, 2007 , Advisor
- Ethical and legal challenges in patients with chronic joint pain, Fellowship biomedical ethics courses thesis, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 2007-2006, assistant
- The professional responsibilities of doctors, Fellowship biomedical ethics Thesis, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 2007-2006, assistant
- Genetic Engineering and jurisprudential challenges, law and ethics, Fellowship bioethics thesis, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 2007-2006, assistant
- Surgery and challenges in jurisprudence, law and ethics, the Fellowship biomedical ethics courses thesis, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 2007-2006, assistant
- Nursing ethics education challenges in Iran, the necessities, barriers and strategies development of nursing ethics, Fellowship biomedical ethics courses thesis, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 2007-2006, assistant
-Comparative study of nursing ethics codes and presenting a suitable pattern for the Iranian community, fellowship course thesis, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 2007-2006, assistant
- Challenges in jurisprudence, legal and ethical pediatrics in Iran, Fellowship biomedical ethics courses thesis, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 2006-2007, assistant
- Brain death and the jurisprudential, legal and ethical challenges, , the Fellowship biomedical ethics courses thesis, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 2007-2006, Consultant
- Comparative study of codes of ethics in medical science in order to provide moral codes of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Fellowship biomedical ethics Thesis, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 2007-2006, assistant
- The role of medical advances in crime prevention, MA Islamic Azad University - Tehran Central Branch - assistant
Performance analysis of the Administrative violations watchdogs, Allameh Tabatabaei University Law School, 2007, consultant
Some of Dr Mahmoud Abbasi's Executive backgrounds in research projects:
-Comparative Study on the Legal Protection of pharmaceutical innovation and intellectual property strategies in order to provide legislative and executive methods, Food and Drug Deputy of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, 2007.
-Transmission through sexual contact and blood transfusion: from legal effects to criminal outcomes, Medical Ethics and Law Research Center, 2006.
Membership records in scientific committees and communities
-Member of the Medical ethics committee of the Islamic Republic of Iran Academy of Medical Sciences
-Member of International Law, Ethics and Science
Lawyer Ethics Committee member in Medical Researches
-Member of international bioethics community
-Member of the National bioethics committee of UNESCO
-Member of Ethics in Research Committee of Shahid Beheshti Medical University
-Member of bioethics and medicine group of the IRI Academy of Medical Sciences
-Member of Iran's Scientific Development Population
-Member of the Iranian Criminology Community
-Member of the Iranian Criminology Association
-Member of bioethics law school of Shahid Beheshti University
-Member of the Medical Ethics Research Center of Psychology and Psychiatry, Tehran Medical University
-Member of the Iranian Association of Ethics in Science and Technology
-Member of the Iranian Scientific Proteomics Association
Founder member of Research Center for Medical Ethics and Law
-Member of the Research ethics committee of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences
Works and Publications
-Uncivil Society, (translated) Legal Publications, First Edition 2000
-Extradition, Ganj Danesh Publications, 1993
-International police, Majd Scientific-Cultural Assembly – 1994
-Ethical rules, (translated) Legal Publications, 2003