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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care
Minerva Anestesiologica 2000 June;66(6):487-93
Guidelines in clinical practice. Bioethical considerations
Ospedale Regionale S.M. dei Battuti, Treviso II Servizio di Anestesia e Rianimazione
The adoption of guidelines in clinical practice raises questions that can be answered against a background in which professional conduct is compared with deontology, law, and the specific sociocultural context and health policies of institutions. In the scientific community, doubts are raised regarding the relationships between the general recommendations laid down in the Guidelines and the specific nature of every clinical condition; between the “duty of adhering” to Guidelines and the doctor’s autonomy, as well as between the adoption, discrepancy and non-adoption of Guidelines and the juridical evaluation of medical liability. The information and individual consent of patients and citizens is of particular importance both with regard to clinical procedures and choices of allocation. In the light of these comments, the authors conclude that Guidelines should not be reduced to a form of automated procedure lacking any responsibility, but should represent a correct synthesis between the objective nature of scientific findings, the subjective condition of the patient and the doctor’s autonomy. The application of correctly formulated Guidelines shared by the community means acting in such a way that the “right to health” and “freedom of treatment” can be exercised in respect of shared bioethical principles based on beneficence, autonomy and justice.