Evaluation of case consultations in clinical ethics committees

Clinical Ethics 7 (1):45-50 (2012)
Abstract
If ethics consultation services influence medical decisions it is important to evaluate how ethical dilemmas are dealt with by clinical ethics committees (CECs). Such evaluation is rare. This study presents a feasible and practical method of evaluating case discussions in CECs and the results emerging from the use of this method. A written presentation of an end-of-life dilemma was sent to all Norwegian ethics committees. The committees were asked to deal with the case as they would do if it was a real case, and to prepare a written report of the discussion. A majority of the committees approached the case systematically. All emphasized the importance of good communication with the next of kin. However, their conclusions varied, medical facts were interpreted differently, possible patient suffering was dealt with differently, and some committees revealed insufficient legal knowledge. Such findings are useful in the future education of committee members
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