Qualitative Analysis of Healthcare Professionals’ Viewpoints on the Role of Ethics Committees and Hospitals in the Resolution of Clinical Ethical Dilemmas

HEC Forum 27 (1):11-34 (2015)
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Abstract

Ethics consultation is a commonly applied mechanism to address clinical ethical dilemmas. However, there is little information on the viewpoints of health care providers towards the relevance of ethics committees and appropriate application of ethics consultation in clinical practice. We sought to use qualitative methodology to evaluate free-text responses to a case-based survey to identify thematically the views of health care professionals towards the role of ethics committees in resolving clinical ethical dilemmas. Using an iterative and reflexive model we identified themes that health care providers support a role for ethics committees and hospitals in resolving clinical ethical dilemmas, that the role should be one of mediation, rather than prescription, but that ultimately legal exposure was dispositive compared to ethical theory. The identified theme of legal fears suggests that the mediation role of ethics committees is viewed by health care professionals primarily as a practical means to avoid more worrisome medico-legal conflict

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Handbook for health care ethics committees.Linda Farber Post - 2007 - Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Edited by Jeffrey Blustein & Nancy N. Dubler.

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