Story of a Mediation in the Clinical Setting

Journal of Clinical Ethics 27 (1):43-50 (2016)
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Abstract

Conflicts in the clinical setting can spiral downward with remarkable speed, as parties become ever more incensed and entrenched in their positions. Productive conversations seem unlikely at best. Nevertheless, such situations can sometimes be turned into collaborative problem solving with equally remarkable speed. For this to happen, those providing conflict-resolution services such as mediation need to bring, not just a set of skills, but also some key norms: the process must be voluntary for all; the mediator must abjure giving advice or taking sides, and must honor the privacy of privately offered thoughts. This article describes a conflict that had reached the point of a hospital’s requesting judicial coercion. However, a conflict-resolution process was then initiated that, in the end, led to amicable resolution and mended relationships, obviating the need for court orders. This article describes that conflict and the resolution process in detail, along the way annotating specific strategies that are often highly effective.

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