THE PRINCIPLE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE IN THE PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF DYING PEOPLE IN THE OPINION OF FAMILY MEMBERS OF HOSPICE'S PATIENTS (Polish title below)
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(Polish title: Zasada sprawiedliwosci spolecznej w ochronie praw osob umierajacych w opinii czlonkow rodzin podopiecznych hospicjum). Human rights stemming directly from man's dignity are not dependent on the will of the ones wielding power, and do not result from social-economic relations. The task of the political authorities is to define, affirm and protect them so that a man could enjoy them in his relations with other people, with social groups and with public institutions. Hence a significant function of the principle of social justice is securing the rights of an individual on the public-legal plane so as to ensure his privileges resulting from man's natural dignity. The protective function of social justice has a great importance in the case of terminally ill people. Their emaciation is the cause of the state that they constitute a category of the weakest persons who cannot defend their status on their own. This is why it often happens that ill people experience infringement of their dignity and rights as result of the minders neglecting their duties, or as result of being treated like an object, or even of being robbed of their possessions. In the article attention first of all is paid to the legal formulations concerning the protection of the dying people, and then statements made by members of the family of hospice patients are quoted. A decided majority of respondents were also in favor of putting into practice the protective function of social justice in the palliative care. The duty to respect the patient's dignity was recognized as the basic legal prerogative aiming at securing the status of hospice patients. The respondents also included the right to receive health benefits, the right to have additional nursing care and the right to obtain information about the ill person's state of health into the group of important rights. In the sphere of protecting the rights of the dying patients the subjects voiced a lesser support for the possibility of receiving social security benefits and the right of secrecy connected with the obtained care.
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