The Role of the Ethics Committee in Hospital Practice
Frenkel, David A.
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 2003; 22(4): 627-633
The author has been the chairman of the Ethics Committee of Soroka Medical Center in Beer-Sheva since its inception in January 1998. This paper describes the work of the Committee and provides several cases for illustration. The majority of the cases involve physicians' petitions to proceed with treatment against the will of patients when lives are in grave danger. The Committee approves such treatment only if the treatment is anticipated to significantly improve a medical condition. However, the Committee found that in many cases patients refused treatment because of a lack of or bad communication. Other cases were requests to withhold information from patients. In such cases the Committee approved the applications when its members were convinced that providing the information was likely to result in severe harm to the patient's health. As of the end of 2001, there was only one case in which the committee approved the disclosure of medical information when it was vital for the protection of health of others.
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