An analysis of ethics consultation in the clinical setting

Only recently have ethicists been invited into the clinical setting to offer recommendations about patient care decisions. This paper discusses this new role for ethicists from the perspective of content and process issues. Among content issues are the usual ethical dilemmas such as the aggressiveness of treatment, questions about consent, and alternative treatment options. Among process issues are those that relate to communication with the patient. The formal ethics consult is discussed, the steps taken in such a consult, and whether there should be a fee charged. We conclude with an examination of the risks and benefits of formal ethics consults.
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