Right to medical aid

When you are arrested, you have the right to medical care if necessary. The police must inform you about your right to receive medical care immediately after your arrest. This right has to be explained to you in writing, and if necessary, you can ask the police to explain this right to you in more detail.

Health check procedure after arrest

The police have to describe your physical condition in the arrest protocol. In addition, before putting you in a cell, a police officer of the same gender as you, must examine your body for any visible injuries. The police officer must also ask you about your state of health. You have a duty to reveal if you have any health issues that could endanger your own life or the lives of others, or if you need any special treatment. These complaints must be noted down by the police officer. The police must invite a doctor if this seems necessary. The police must exercise adequate diligence when assessing whether the arrestee needs medical help. They need to take into account circumstances that could point to such necessity.

Free medical aid

All emergency medical care must always be free of charge.  The medical care you need in case of an injury, acute illness or worsening of a chronic illness must also be given free of charge.

What human rights violation may there be?

Prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment

A lack of appropriate medical aid may result in inhumane or degrading treatment, or even torture. However, the suffering has to reach at least a minimum level of severity to result in a human rights violation. When assessing whether the lack of medical help has been inhumane or degrading, such things as the duration of the suffering, the physical and psychological effects, your age, gender and health issues would be taken into account.

The actions have to be particularly serious and cruel and cause very severe suffering for mistreatment to result in torture. Read more about how to evaluate whether your rights have been violated.

Right to life

If an arrestee dies because of a lack of requisite medical help while under arrest, it may result in a violation of the right to life. Read more about how to evaluate whether the right to life has been violated.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education