Informed Consent in Italy: Its Ethical and Legal Viewpoints and Its Applications in Veterinary Medicine

Annamaria Passantino, Valeria Quartarone, Maria Russo


During the last four decades the doctrine of informed consent (IC) has become a legal standard and an essential component of ethical guidelines in medicine, due to its relevance for basic human rights such as autonomy and respect of human dignity. Over the last few years, this legal formula has gained importance in veterinary medicine, thereby influencing the everyday activities of the veterinary practitioners. This paper briefly describes the ethical and legal background of IC in Italy and examines how it relates to the practice of veterinary medicine, considering the change in social sensibility towards animals. It also outlines the discussion that should take place between veterinarian and client before a planned procedure. In fact, with the growth in societys recognition and understanding of the importance of the human-animal bond, veterinarians have the opportunity to provide broader and more comprehensive services to clients who are more likely to invest in their pets well being. In the veterinarian-client-patient relationship IC is an important concept, because it is part of what defines the boundaries of that relationship.

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