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Minerva Medicolegale 2006 June;126(2):123-54


language: Italian

Informed consent to surgery in Arab Muslim patients. Issues in health care and legal medicine. Operative proposals for medico-legal purposes

Iorio M. 1, Avallone L. 2

1 Dipartimento di Anatomia Farmacologia e Medicina Legale Università degli Studi di Torino, Torino 2 Dipartimento di Lingue Letterature e Culture Comparate Università degli Studi di Bergamo, Bergamo


Over the past decade, a renewed interest in tangent issues has placed within a broader perspective the debate surrounding informed consent in Italy. The problem of adequate information and voluntary agreement of patients to undergo a specific, proposed treatment is primarily correlated with the ethical, social and economic implications of advanced medical care. This problem has been re-examined in light of the principles of personal liberty and dignity and the basic rights of the individual. Active participation in maintaining personal health and rising health care costs have driven the need to find effective forms of care compatible with a country’s economic resources. Originally conceptualized within the limits of the doctor-patient relationship, informed consent now has its context in a general rethinking of health care services delivered by a welfare state. This shift reflects the attempt by many countries, including Italy, to align the evolving concept of health care needs, scientific-technological progress and its wider reaching ethical, professional, social, epidemiological and organizational implications with their economic and financial situation. Added to these changes is the migration from north African countries accompanied by obstacles to communication that have weakened the doctor-patient relationship, resulting in misunderstanding, diffidence, and malpractice, with increased litigation about professional liability. This, however, has created a false problem that could be much more simply viewed as the tension between the expectations of immigrants to a wealthy modern country and human error in medicine. The solution may be provided by seeking to collaborate adequately to reach an effective operating standard. With this study, several proposals are made for improving the relationship between health care providers and immigrant users of the health care system.

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