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Italian court edict over discharge rules causes controversy

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1494 (Published 07 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1494
  1. Michael Day
  1. 1Milan

Italy’s highest court has ruled that doctors who discharge patients to save money are breaking the law. As a result of the decision one doctor is now facing a manslaughter conviction.

The Court of Cassation’s ruling relates to the case of an angioplasty recipient who died on the night of his discharge nine days after the procedure.

The doctor who ordered his discharge from the hospital in Busto Arsizio, near Milan, in June 2004 claimed that the patient, an obese smoker who had had a heart attack, had stabilised and that the release adhered to hospital guidelines. …

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