The Problem of Informed Consent in Critically Ill Patients

  • H. Burchardi
Conference paper


In intensive care medicine decisions are characterised by: uncertainty of diagnosis, urgency of treatment, continuous change of situation, and high costs of interventions. Specific pressure is caused by the “technologic imperative” which means:
  1. 1.

    the need to do everything, regardless of outcome, potential effects or costs, particularly when patients are likely to die without aggressive treatment and when patients cannot make their own decision;

  2. 2.

    strict legal demands for liability and claims for damages promote defensive medicine and high level of measures for diagnosis and therapy: invasive (e.g. pulmonary artery catheter) as well as expensive (e.g. Labs, CT scans) diagnostics and treatments (e.g. operations, organ function replacement).



Pulmonary Artery Catheter Intensive Care Medicine Legal Representative Defensive Medicine Presume Consent 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Burchardi
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Anaesthesiology, Emergency and Intensive Care MedicineUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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