Conflict Resolution in the Clinical Setting: A Story Beyond Bioethics Mediation

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 43 (4):843-856 (2015)
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Rarely do ethics consults focus on genuine moral puzzlement in which people collectively wonder what is the right thing to do. Far more often, consults are about conflict. Each side knows quite well what is “right.” The problem is that the other side is too blind or stubborn to recognize it. And so the ethics consultant is called, perhaps in the hope that s/he will throw the weight of ethics toward one side and end the controversy so everyone can get on with other business. Perhaps the greater problem in these scenarios is that even if one side “wins” by gaining the power to dictate what happens next, the toxicity permeating the relationships often markedly worsens and other conflicts erupt, major and minor.



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