The Italian Supreme Court has once again dealt with the question of the contents and extent of the information that the Italian health facilities must give to their patients.
The case concerned a pregnant woman who had undergone tests at a University clinic, whose outcome had been negative.
Notwithstanding the checks that had been conducted, the woman had given birth to a Down Syndrome baby, as a result of which she had decided, together with her husband, to bring an action for damages in relation thereto, claiming that the university clinic had not disclosed to them the risk that the tests were not sufficient to exclude the existence of fetus pathologies (thus violating the plaintiff’s right to terminate her pregnancy on therapeutic grounds).
The Italian Supreme Court, with its judgment no. 25559/11, held the couple’s action to be grounded, ruling that the hospital was contractually liable for having omitted to inform the mother that the tests were not reliable and that further tests were necessary in order to exclude altogether the existence of pathologies affecting the newly born child.
The Court was of the opinion that a woman is entitled to choose between therapeutic abortion and an undesidered birth. In the case at hand, instead, there had been no chance to do so because of the defendant having failed to inform the plaintiff of her rights.
The Court ruled, therefore, that the couple be awarded economic damages for the expenses incurred in maintaining their child and for the potential jeopardizing of their careers, as well as non-economic damages for the losses suffered by them and the presumably grave repercussions that this would have on their everyday family life.
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