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Minerva Anestesiologica 2000 January-February;66(1-2):73-8


language: Italian

Medical deontological code and ethical questions regarding the end of life. A contribution to clarity by anesthetists and intensive care operators

Orsi L., Mazzon D.

U. O. Rianimazione; Comitato Etico Azienda Ospedaliera; Ospedale Maggiore di Crema Consulta di Bioetica di Milano *II Servizio di Anestesia e Rianimazione Ospedale Regionale Ca’ Foncello, Treviso; Comitato di Bioetica Azienda ULSS 9, Regione Veneto


The Medical Deontological Code (MDC) discusses ethical questions regarding the end of life, which often require anesthetists and intensive care operators to take decisions regarding patients with terminal diseases in Article 14: Intensity of diagnostic-therapeutic procedures under heading IV (Diagnostic and therapetic procedures) and Article 37: Caring for the terminally ill under heading V (Caring for the terminally ill). The original formulation of Article 37 prompted immediate dissent among numerous anesthetists-IC operators and bioethics experts who signed a petition addressed to the Permanent Commission for the Revision of the Deontological Code in which they asked of Article 37 and proposed a reformulation. In this paper the authors outline the arguments used to back up this requests and its broad acceptance by the Commission, as shown by the amendments made to Articles 37 and 38 of the MDC and the clarifications given un the Commentary to the MDC approved on 1/9/99. These amendments correct a deontological regulation whose original formulation appeared to be contradictory and inapplicable to the terminally ill patients. This matter clearly shows the importance of bioethical questions facing. Anesthetists and Intensive Care operators and underlines the need for reflection on these themes within the profession and a more active participation in the general debate on ethical and deontological aspects of the medical profession.

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