Medical and surgical responsibility

For years, the "Federico Stella" Graduate School of Criminal Justice (ASGP) has dedicated its research activity to the criminal liability of doctors and health workers, with particular attention to the phenomenon of defensive medicine, to the problems connected with the detection of malpractice and the need to strengthen the therapeutic alliance between doctors and patients.

On the subject of defensive medicine, ASGP has developed an articulated reform project on "criminal liability in the field of medical-surgical activity and management of litigation related to clinical risk". It is the final outcome of an extensive research on the problem of defensive medicine, which has already had as its first result the publication of the outcomes of an in-depth empirical survey (which confirmed and analytically documented the seriousness of the problem).

This research was initiated on the proposal and with the consultancy of the Italian Society of Surgery which, worried by the widespread perception of uncertainty in the regulatory and jurisprudential framework within the healthcare profession and more generally by the phenomenon of "defensive medicine", decided to entrust Prof. Gabrio Forti and the Graduate School of Università Cattolica he directed with the in-depth study of the problem and the design of proposals for reform of the sector's regulations considered suitable to affect the main factors that are at the origin of the problem.

The reform proposal put forward by the Graduate School - at the time CSGP "Federico Stella" Study Centre on Criminal Justice and Criminal Policy - is divided into four titles, aimed at giving an organic redefinition of the litigation relating to the exercise of the health profession, also laying the foundations for overcoming the critical issues that are at the origin of the phenomenon of defensive medicine.

In recent years, the interests of researchers at the Graduate School have focused on the study of recent reforms in the field of medical liability (Law no. 158 of 13 September 2012, the so-called Balduzzi decree, and Law no. 24 of 8 March 2017, the so-called Gelli-Bianco law) and on the jurisprudential guidelines of the Supreme Court of Cassation, with special attention to the issues related to the use of guidelines in medical negligence charges. The common thread of the reflection conducted by the entire research group is the awareness of the growing complexity reached by the medical art, to which corresponds an organizational dimension in which to frame human error, in order to achieve a more appropriate allocation of responsibilities, without falling into the bottlenecks of hindsight and disclaim responsibility leading tothe hunt for scapegoats, typical of accusatory approaches focused on the event and indifferent to the complex aetiology of the dysfunctions in the health sector.

Last but not least, since 2011, through the co-direction of Prof. Francesco Centonze, the Graduate School has been actively involved in the management of the Rivista Italiana di Medicina Sanitaria e del Diritto in campo sanitario (Giuffrè, A ranking journal), which over time has become a reference point for operators in the sector and for all jurists sensitive to the continuous evolution of the fronts of responsibility in the medical area.








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