Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (4):241-246 (2008)

Abstract
In an international survey of rationing we have found that European physicians encounter scarcity-related ethical difficulties, and are dissatified with the resolution of many of these cases. Here we further examine survey results to explore whether ethics support services would be potentially useful in addressing scarcity related ethical dilemmas. Results indicate that while the type of help offered by ethics support services was considered helpful by physicians, they rarely referred difficulties regarding scarcity to ethics consultation. We propose that ethics consultants could assist physicians by making the process less difficult, and by contributing to decisions being more ethically justifiable. Expertise in bringing considerations of justice to bear on real cases could also be useful in recognising an unjust limit, as opposed to a merely frustrating limit. Though these situations are unlikely to be among the most frequently referred to ethics support services, ethics consultants should be prepared to address them
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DOI 10.1136/jme.2006.019828
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