Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18 (3):449-453 (2015)

In Italy in recent years, an exponential increase in the frequency of medical malpractice claims relating to the issue of informed consent has substantially altered not only medical ethics, but medical practice as well. Total or partial lack of consent has become the cornerstone of many malpractice lawsuits, and continues to be one of the primary cudgels against defendant physicians in Italian courtrooms. Physicians have responded to the rising number of claims with an increase in ‘defensive medicine’ and a prevailing preoccupation with the purely formal aspects of consent. The result is a plethora of consent forms, believed to be a guarantee of ‘informed consent’, as well as a growing reliance on informed consent as a shield against judicial action brought by the patient. Physicians ‘inform’ patients without really sharing information, often delegating the task of communication to other professionals who are not doctors. Italian judges always condemn the physician when information to the patient has been inadequate, thus leading insurance companies to consider the lack of valid informed consent as the total responsibility of the physician and/or the hospital. It is necessary to change tack, to remove this idea of consent which permeates the defensive culture of medical practice. Italian physicians need to be trained, first of all, to become aware that information and consent are two distinct processes, albeit closely connected. Valid communication demands a higher level of professionalism from physicians.
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-015-9637-6
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Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics.Neil C. Manson - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
From Idealized Clinical Empathy to Empathic Communication in Medical Care.Jodi Halpern - 2014 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 17 (2):301-311.

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