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Revista Médica del Uruguay

versão impressa ISSN 0303-3295versão On-line ISSN 1688-0390


GAMERO, Sylvia; BORCHES DUHALDE, Frances  e  RODRIGUEZ ALMADA, Hugo. Ethical responsibility of medical doctors in Uruguay: six-year term results in the functioning of the Medical Ethics Tribunal. Rev. Méd. Urug. [online]. 2019, vol.35, n.2, pp.76-100.  Epub 01-Jun-2019. ISSN 0303-3295.

The Medical Ethics Tribunal has been functioning since 2012 when it was created by Act 18,591 for all cases in connection with medical ethics, deontology and diceology required by the government, individuals or legal persons, or members of the Uruguayan Medical Association. The study aims to inform about the first experience in Uruguay in the judging of the ethical responsibility of medical doctors ruled by law.


General: To present the first report on ethical responsibility of medical doctors in Uruguay.

Specific: a) To describe a few characteristics of the complaints, the people who report the cases and those who are accused for alleged violation of medical ethics in the first two terms of the Tribunal’s functioning. b) to systematize the characteristics and results of the procedures developed.


the public access sources of information were analysed: a) judgements by the Ethics Tribunal and the Appeals Court; b) Memories of the Medical Ethics Tribunal. A few characteristics of the reports were systematized, as well as those in connection with the people who report the cases and those who are accused for alleged violation, the procedures and the judgements.


101 complaints were received, 56 of which were accepted (FR: 0.55). Ethical offences by members of the health team were the most frequent reason. Complaints involved 68 doctors, mainly male (FR: 0.62) average age being 52.8 years old. Over half the complaints originated in specific situations where medical services were being provided, in particular in the ER context. Surgical procedures were highly represented. Most accused doctors appeared before the tribunal. Average time between the acceptance of the complaint and the final judgement was 9.6 months. According to the final judgments, in most cases (FR: 0.6) there was no offence or the offence could not be proved. 27 doctors were punished and 4 of them were temporarily excluded from the registry. Most offences involved a bad relationship with colleagues, although the most serious ones consisted in abusing the clinical relationship.


the number of complaints received was stable. Most complaints and the punishments applied originated in problems within the health team. All greater punishments originated in conflicts with patients or their families. The profile of doctors reported is somehow more aged and male individuals than the polymorph average. Activity in the ER and/or the OR would imply being more exposed to complaints, just like it is seen in civil and criminal liability cases.

Palavras-chave : Uruguay; Ethics, medical; Liability, legal.

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