Resolving the Vexing Question of Credentialing: Finding the Aristotelian Mean Content Type Journal Article Pages 263-273 DOI 10.1007/s10730-009-9100-2 Authors Jeffrey P. Spike, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Center for Health, Humanities, and the Human Spirit, Director of the Campus Wide Ethics Program 6431 Fannin, JJL 400 Houston Texas 77030 USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737 Journal Volume Volume 21 Journal Issue Volume 21, Number 3.
Informed consent is the single most important concept for understanding decision-making capacity. There is a steady pull in the clinical world to transform capacity into a technical concept that can be tested objectively, usually by calling for a psychiatric consult. This is a classic example of medicalization. In this article I argue that is a mistake, not just unnecessary but wrong, and explain how to normalize capacity assessment.Returning the locus of capacity assessment to the attending, the primary care doctor, and (...) even to ethics consultation in today's environment will require a substantial effort to undo a strong but illusory impression of capacity assessment. Hospital attorneys as well as clinical ethicists with a sophisticated understanding of health law can be in the vanguard of this reorientation. (shrink)
How can one be trained to enter the evolving field of clinical ethics consultation? The classroom is not the proper place to teach clinical ethics consultation; it is best done in a clinical setting. The author maps the elements that might be included in an apprenticeship, and sets out propositions for debate regarding the training needed for clinical ethics consultants and directors of clinical ethics consultation services.
The first ethics casebook that integrates clinical ethics (medical, nursing, and dental) and research ethics with public health and informatics. The book opens with five chapters on ethics, the development of interprofessional ethics, and brief instructional materials for students on how to analyze ethical cases and for teachers on how to teach ethics. In today's rapidly evolving healthcare system, the cases in this book are far more realistic than previous efforts that isolate the decision-making process by professions as if each (...) is not embedded in a larger context that involves healthcare teams, hospital policies, and technology. The central claim of this book is that ethics is an important common ground for all of the health professions. Furthermore, when we recognize that our professions converge upon a common goal we will find less conflict and more pleasure in working together. (shrink)
Individuals who are profoundly mentally handicapped do not have the capacity to make their own decisions and also do not have a past record of decisions, from when they had capacity, to guide us in making decisions for them. They represent a difficult group, ethically, for surrogate decision making. Here I propose some guidelines, distinguishing between these patients and patients in a persistent vegetative state . As the life span of patients becomes shorter, or their level of consciousness becomes permanently (...) impaired, the presumption for comfort care should become an imperative, and the standard of evidence to justify any invasive intervention should become higher. For members of this population, who have no more ability to refuse treatment than to consent to it, protection of the vulnerable must mean allowing a peaceful death as well as a comfortable life. Reasonable legal safeguards are also proposed to allow improved end-of-life decisions to be made for this population. (shrink)
The author analyzes the lessons for ethics consultants presented by McCrary and colleagues in their case, “Elective Delivery Before 39 Weeks’ Gestation: Reconciling Maternal, Fetal, and Family Interests in Challenging Circumstances.” Clinical ethics cases that involve different specialists representing the best interests of different parties in a case, such as this case involving neonatologists and perinatologists, are complex and time-consuming. The author concludes that ethics must insure the interests of the fetus and future person are not subsumed to the interests (...) of those with a voice, without deliberate reflection and strong ethical justification. (shrink)