Decisions Faced by Hospital Ethics Committees

Hospital ethics committees (HECs) are relatively new bodies in the field of healthcare. They are multidisciplinary hospital groups that assemble for the purposes of ethics education, case consultation, and policy development. A minority of HECs pursue research activities, typically about effectiveness of case consultations and policy review. Ethics committees may advise healthcare professionals, patients, and family members about dealing with troubling cases, ethical conflicts or dilemmas, and ought to provide a nonthreatening forum that allows for the airing of different opinions, and discussion of the moral justifications for choosing one course of action over another.

Ethics committees may facilitate the decision-making process. Common reasons for consultations are questions about treatment limitations, and/or who ought to be included in the decision-making process. Recommendations from HECs are typically ...

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