Responsibility after the apparent end: 'Following-up' in clinical ethics consultation

Bioethics 25 (7):413-424 (2011)
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Abstract

Clinical ethics literature typically presents ethics consultations as having clear beginnings and clear ends. Experience in actual clinical ethics practice, however, reflects a different characterization, particularly when the moral experiences of ethics consultants are included in the discussion. In response, this article emphasizes listening and learning about moral experience as core activities associated with clinical ethics consultation. This focus reveals that responsibility in actual clinical ethics practice is generated within the moral scope of an ethics consultant's activities as she or he encounters the unique and specific features that emerge from interactions with a specific patient, or family, or practitioner within a given situation and over time. A long-form narrative about an ethics consultant's interactions is interwoven with a more didactic discussion to highlight the theme of responsibility and to probe questions that arise regarding follow-up within the practice of clinical ethics consultation

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