Rules on informed consent and advance directives at the end of-life: the new Italian law

Rules on informed consent and advance directives at the end of-life: the new Italian law
Commentary
R V Viola, N Di Fazio, Z Del Fante, V Fazio, G Volonnino, S Romano, A Quattrocchi, M Arcangeli
La Clinica terapeutica, March-April 2020; 171(2) e94-96
Open Access
Abstract
End-of-life decisions are an emergent issue for bioethical debates and practical concerns among health professionals. On December 2017, Italy enacted a new law named “Rules about informed consent and advance directives”, which promotes the relationship of care in a fiduciary sense through the implementation of a correct and exhaustive information. It is also prescribed to record in writing all the patients’ decisions about consent or refusal. Furthermore, the law explicitly forbids unreasonable therapeutic obstinacy for terminal patient, legitimizing deep palliative sedation. Finally, the law establishes the use of “advance directives” as a written document by which adults and capable people can express their wishes regarding health treatments and diagnostic tests in anticipation of a possible future incapacity. The law provides that doctors must comply with these directives, unless they appear clearly incongruous or not corresponding to the patient’s current clinical condition.

Editor’s note: We take note of the phrase “unreasonable therapeutic obstinacy” in the abstract.

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