Medical Responsibility and Clinical Guidelines: A Few Remarks from Two Italian Juridical Cases

Medicine Studies 3 (3):157-169 (2012)
PurposeThe aim of this paper is to assess the complex issue of responsibility in clinical practice. The paper focuses mainly on the relationship between personal- and medical-professional responsibility of practitioners and clinical guidelines.MethodsAfter a theoretical review of the different definitions of responsibility in selected bioethical and biojuridical literature, two recent juridical proceedings concerning medical responsibility from Italian Courts are discussed. Subsequently, a theoretical analysis of the definition of clinical practice guidelines is proposed in order to show their feasibility to assess personal- and medical-professional responsibility.ResultsThe definitions of responsibility and the two Italian cases show the theoretical and practical difficulties of shared assessments of both personal-professional and medical-professional responsibility in clinical practice. Clinical practice guidelines cannot be assumed as an objective code of action stating exactly a rule of conduct in all situations, but as a tool suggesting how to decide what to do in different conditions.ConclusionsResponsibility in clinical practice is such a complex issue to deserve a special ethical assessment. The clinician’s personal-professional responsibility cannot be replaced or reduced by clinical practice guidelines, because medicine is as such a relationship focused on the expertize of practitioners. Nonetheless, a shared approach to different clinical conditions is needed in order to avoid a relativist outcome and protect patients’ and even clinicians’ rights. Formal guidelines (that describe not exactly what to do but how to decide what to do) are proposed as potential useful tool to achieve this aim
Keywords Ethics  Practice guidelines  Legislation  Legal liability  Professional deontology
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12376-012-0073-0
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,777
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Punishment and Responsibility.H. L. A. Hart - 1970 - Philosophy 45 (172):162-162.
Responsibility in Law and Morality.Peter Cane - 2002 - Mind 112 (446):328-331.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
MRC Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice in Clinical Trials.D. Vere - 1999 - Journal of Medical Ethics 25 (3):280-281.
Limits on Patient Responsibility.Maureen Kelley - 2005 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (2):189 – 206.
Steps Towards a Theory of Medical Practice.Peter Hucklenbroich - 1998 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 19 (3):215-228.
Clinical Reasoning: New Challenges.William E. Stempsey - 2009 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 30 (3):173-179.
Clinical Ethics: Theory or Practice?Jos V. M. Welie - 1998 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 19 (3):295-312.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

15 ( #317,983 of 2,177,986 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #317,201 of 2,177,986 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums