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Medicolegal relevance of the transient loss of consciousness

  • Ivan Šoša1,*,
  • Manuela Perković2
  • Loredana Labinac2

1University of Rijeka, Faculty of Medicine, 51000 Rijeka, EU, Croatia

2Pula General Hospital, 52000 Pula, EU, Croatia

DOI: 10.22514/sv.2023.123 Vol.20,Issue 2,February 2024 pp.1-12

Submitted: 28 July 2023 Accepted: 20 October 2023

Published: 08 February 2024

*Corresponding Author(s): Ivan Šoša E-mail:


Transient and hardly traceable signs of diminished consciousness might be the only signs that are apparent and reported during the scrutinous care of intensive care unit (ICU) staff. Unfortunately, most transient loss of consciousness (TLoC) episodes occur elsewhere. This review aims to help recognize TLoC and identify situations when these conditions mean that certain legal privileges should be held. With this aim, the current literature was scoped for conceptualizing consciousness, its alterations, and loss as regarded in the legal system. This review was partly inceptive for increasing the use of unconsciousness as a defense against criminal charges. This paper tackles working ability and the legal liability of individuals suffering from TLoC. What has been most discussed is so-called syncope—a TLoC without actual focal neurological deficit which occurs due to hypoperfusion of the brain. Therefore, it is a symptom of the nervous system indicating a cardiovascular condition. Unlike stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), hypoperfusion affects the entire brain. The sudden loss of consciousness in everyday workplace situations can lead to dangerous situations. Likewise, as a result of avoiding these situations, being aware of the possible loss of consciousness can preclude a patient from performing the duties of occupation—or any activity.


Disorders of consciousness; Legal liability; Syncope; Transient loss of consciousness; Working ability

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Ivan Šoša,Manuela Perković,Loredana Labinac. Medicolegal relevance of the transient loss of consciousness. SignaVitae. 2024. 20(2);1-12.


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