Medical responsibility is the type of liability that arises from damage caused to patients by errors or omissions in the health care system. The most common hypothesis of medical liability is that of malpractice, due to the negligence of health professionals.
The new Law “Gelli” (n. 24 of 2017) reformed the civil and criminal responsibility of health operators and healthcare institutions.
First of all, the responsibility for medical malpractice is laid on the healthcare institution, either private or public, which provides the health services.
The healthcare institution shall be liable for the damages of the patient due to contractual responsibility, even if no actual written agreement has been signed, for the greater protection of the patient.
Specifically, the patient shall prove that he has suffered damage and specify what is the medical error, but he shall not prove that the error was actually made. Responsibility may also arise from organizational factors of the institution, such as functional deficiencies or inadequate equipment.
However, the healthcare institution has the obligation to prove that it has acted correctly, thus the burden of proof shall lie with it.
Due to the Law Gelli, the responsibility of health professionals is considered as non-contractual. This has important legal consequences, because the patient will also have to prove the culpability of the health professional and the casual link.
The new Law also introduced a new criminal responsibility at Art.590-sexies of the Italian Criminal Code. If the healthcare professional causes the death of the patient or personal injuries, the penalties provided for the crimes of manslaughter and negligent injury shall apply. However, the incompetence that determined the injury shall be punishable only in case of severe negligence and only if medical guidelines adequate to the particular case were not respected.
Medical responsibility can be difficult to prove, so it is necessary to rely on professional experts to analyze the case thoroughly.
VGS Lawyers have several years of experience in medical malpractice and will assist our clients to file a claim for medical neglicence and will guide you through all the process, informing them about the steps to be taken and the possible compensation.