This paper explores the relationship between teaching and consulting in clinical ethics teaching and the role of the ethics teacher in clinical decision-making. Three roles of the clinical ethics teacher are discussed and illustrated with examples from the authors' experience. Two models of the ethics consultant are contrasted, with an argument presented for the ethics consultant as decision facilitator. A concluding section points to some of the challenges of clinical ethics teaching.
Discussion of the ethics of forgoing medically provided nutrition and hydration tends to focus on adults rather than infants and children. Many appellate court decisions address the legal propriety of forgoing medically provided nutritional support of adults, but only a few have ruled on pediatric cases that pose the same issue.The cessation of nutritional support is implemented most commonly for patients in a permanent vegetative state ). An estimated 4,000 to 10,000 American children are in the permanent vegetative state, compared (...) to 10,000 to 25,000 adults. Yet the dearth of literature, case reports, and court decisions suggests that physicians and families of pediatric patients stop medically provided nutrition or seek court orders much less frequently. (shrink)
In 2016, the Colorado legislature passed an amendment to Colorado’s medical proxy law that established a process for the appointment of a physician to act as proxy decision maker of last resort for an unrepresented patient (Colorado HB 16-1101: Medical Decisions For Unrepresented Patients). The legislative process brought together a diverse set of stakeholders, not all of whom supported the legislation. Following passage of the statutory amendment, the Colorado Collaborative for Unrepresented Patients (CCUP), a group of advocates responsible for initiating (...) the legislative process, coordinated a unique effort to engage these stakeholders in the creation of a set of voluntary guidelines to assist facilities and individual careproviders in the implementation of policies and procedures enabled by the statute. This article delineates the questions and concerns of stakeholders, describes how those issues were addressed within the guidelines, and proposes additional opportunities for research to assess the impact of the legislation in Colorado. (shrink)
Medical decision making on behalf of unrepresented patients is one of the most challenging ethical issues faced in clinical practice. The legal environment surrounding these patients is equally complex. This article describes the efforts of a small coalition of interested healthcare professionals to address the issue in Colorado. A brief history of the effort is presented, along with discussion of the legal, ethical, practical, and political dimensions that arose in Colorado’s effort to address decision making for unrepresented patients through an (...) extension of the existing Colorado Medical Treatment Decision Act (CRS 15-18). A discussion of lessons learned in the process is included. (shrink)
The case of a dying baby with is one of the most difficult in pediatric ethics. I have been involved in several such cases and they are extremely challenging for all parties, especially the parents. With the luxury of being an I will comment on this case from the perspective of when it first began and at the end point described in the narrative.