The design and use of the bioethics consultation form

The emergence of the ethics consultation as a means to resolve moral crises in clinical medicine has revealed the need for a worksheet that would facilitate intake and analysis. The author developed the Bioethics Consultation Form as an attempt to remedy this need. The form is arranged in an outline format and is a useful asset to ethics committee discussions and record keeping. The first section covers basic intake data concerning the patient's medical and personal information, advance directives, and values, as well as the values of the physician and family. After the intake section is completed with the above data, the ethics consultant then turns to the analysis section. This second section allows for (1) the discussion of conflicting values, (2) the identification of priorities, and (3) the elucidation of ethical norms relevant to the case.The Bioethics Consultation Form was adopted by the Patient Care Advisory committee of the Franklin Square Hospital Center in Baltimore, Maryland in 1986. The methodology in the use of the form will be discussed. Further, the potential spectrum of consultative cases that can be analyzed using the form will be highlighted.
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