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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887

Abstract

FIGUEROA G, Rodolfo. Informed consent in the patients' rights law. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2012, vol.140, n.10, pp.1347-1351. ISSN 0034-9887.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0034-98872012001000017.

Background: The new regulation of patients' rights creates the right to informed consent, which allows accepting or refusing any medical treatment. Also, the patient has the right to be appropriately informed about a variety of aspects determined by the law. Patient's autonomy has limits. Artificial acceleration of death, euthanasia or assisted suicide are not permitted. The problem is that the law does not define those situations. The law provides the intervention of Ethics Committees when the doctor considers that the patient exposes himself to severe harm or the risk of death which would be avoided. This intervention impinges on patient's autonomy. Patients have the right to request discharge and medical facilities could discharge patients against their will if they do not accept medical recommendations. These limitations on autonomy should be explained because the law apparently makes the distinction between killing, letting die and the Double Effect Doctrine. There is plenty of literature questioning the validity of both. The law fails to regulate part of the medical practice, regarding life and death decisions. A lack of consensus could explain this omission. Doctors have a right to conscientious objection to some patient's requests.

Keywords : Ethics Committees; Euthanasia; Informed Consent.

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