open access

Vol 46, No 1 (2014 Jan-Mar)
Review articles
Submitted: 2014-03-11
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The issue of penal and legal protection of the intensive care unit physician within the context of patient’s consent to treatment. Part II: unconscious patient

Jacek Siewiera, Andrzej Kübler, Monika Filipowska, Jakub Trnka, Aleksandra Zamaro-Michalska
DOI: 10.5603/AIT.2014.0012
·
Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther 2014;46(1):55-59.

open access

Vol 46, No 1 (2014 Jan-Mar)
Review articles
Submitted: 2014-03-11

Abstract

Cultural changes in Western societies, as well as the rapid development of medical technology during the last quarter of a century, have led to many changes in the relationship between a physician and a patient. During this period, the patient’s consent to treatment has proven to be an essential component of any decision relating to the patient’s health. The patient's will component, as an essential element of the legality of the treatment process, is also reflected in the Polish legislation. The correct interpretation of the legal regulations and the role the patient’s will plays in the therapeutic decision-making process within the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) requires the consideration of both the good of the patient and the physician’s safety in terms of his criminal responsibility. Clinical experience indicates that the physicians’ decisions result in the choice of the best treatment strategy for a patient only if they are based on current medical knowledge and an assessment of therapeutic opportunities. The good of the patient must be the sole objective of the physician’s actions, and as a result of the current state of medical knowledge and the medical prognosis, all the conditions of the legal safety of a physician taking decisions must be met. In this paper, the authors have set out how to obtain consent (substantive consent) to treat an unconscious patient in the ICU in light of the current Polish law, as well as a physician’s daily practice. The solutions proposed in the text of the publication are aimed at increasing the legal safety of the ICU physicians when making key decisions relating to the strategy of the treatment of ICU patients.

Abstract

Cultural changes in Western societies, as well as the rapid development of medical technology during the last quarter of a century, have led to many changes in the relationship between a physician and a patient. During this period, the patient’s consent to treatment has proven to be an essential component of any decision relating to the patient’s health. The patient's will component, as an essential element of the legality of the treatment process, is also reflected in the Polish legislation. The correct interpretation of the legal regulations and the role the patient’s will plays in the therapeutic decision-making process within the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) requires the consideration of both the good of the patient and the physician’s safety in terms of his criminal responsibility. Clinical experience indicates that the physicians’ decisions result in the choice of the best treatment strategy for a patient only if they are based on current medical knowledge and an assessment of therapeutic opportunities. The good of the patient must be the sole objective of the physician’s actions, and as a result of the current state of medical knowledge and the medical prognosis, all the conditions of the legal safety of a physician taking decisions must be met. In this paper, the authors have set out how to obtain consent (substantive consent) to treat an unconscious patient in the ICU in light of the current Polish law, as well as a physician’s daily practice. The solutions proposed in the text of the publication are aimed at increasing the legal safety of the ICU physicians when making key decisions relating to the strategy of the treatment of ICU patients.

Get Citation

Keywords

intensive care unit; patient, consent to treatment; patient, proxy consent, declaration of will

About this article
Title

The issue of penal and legal protection of the intensive care unit physician within the context of patient’s consent to treatment. Part II: unconscious patient

Journal

Anaesthesiology Intensive Therapy

Issue

Vol 46, No 1 (2014 Jan-Mar)

Pages

55-59

DOI

10.5603/AIT.2014.0012

Bibliographic record

Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther 2014;46(1):55-59.

Keywords

intensive care unit
patient
consent to treatment
patient
proxy consent
declaration of will

Authors

Jacek Siewiera
Andrzej Kübler
Monika Filipowska
Jakub Trnka
Aleksandra Zamaro-Michalska

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