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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care
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Minerva Anestesiologica 2005 November;71(11):659-69

language: English, Italian

Informed consent to proposed course of medical treatment: recent case law stances

Valmassoi G. 1, Mazzon D. 2

1 Deputy Public Prosecutor Court of Treviso, Treviso, Italy
2 Department of Anesthesia and Resuscitation Belluno Hospital, Belluno, Italy


Developments in ethics, deontology and case law, along with the related increasing demand for patient autonomy in decision-making in health care, led the President of SIAARTI in 2000 to request the Bioethics Commission to revise the documentation on informed content the Study Group on Anesthesia Safety had issued. In response to the request, a multidisciplinary study group was called to examine the ethical, psychological, clinical, legal and medicolegal issues related to informed consent and to draw up a document that would provide for the implementation of the procedure for information and consent proposed in the model of disclosed information and consent for anesthesia approved by the SIAARTI Advisory Board. The model is to be viewed as evidence for an established anesthetist-patient relationship and as a useful record in case of legal or insurance liability litigation. In Italy, failure to obtain consent to medical treatment has assumed growing legal implications. Since 1992, the failure to obtain consent has become part of case law, an exemplary instance of which is the case of a surgeon that was closed in 2002 with the judgment of the Corte di Cassazione (Italian Supreme Court), section I, of 29/05/2002. The judgment found that, in the absence of express implementation of the Oviedo Convention, a physician is always legitimated to performed therapeutic treatment deemed necessary for preserving the life of a patient in his or her care, even in the absence of explicit consent, with the sole but significant exception of unequivocal refusal of treatment.

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