Why Physicians Should Not Do Ethics Consults
Marsh, Frank H.
Theoretical Medicine. 1992 Sep; 13(3): 285-292.
Increasing complexities facing physicians negotiating the bedside decision continue to fuel the debate over who is the appropriate party to offer ethics consults, should one be needed, during the decision-making process. Some very good arguments have been put forth on behalf of clinical ethicists as being the proper and best party to engage in ethics consultations. However, serious questions remain about the role of the clinical ethicist and his ability to provide the necessary level of objectivity called for in an ethics consult. I argue that the clinician's professional psyche, or mode of thinking as a professional, leaves him little room to maneuver as an objective and detached third party ethics consultant. Several factors are cited and discussed that greatly influence the analyses applied to a case problem by physicians. The most formidable of these factors are habits and the practice of defensive medicine. I conclude that clinical ethicists are less suited for the overall tasks required of an objective consultant in medical cases that appear to involve insurmountable ethical issues.
Clinical Ethics; Communication; Conflict of Interest; Consultation; Decision Making; Economics; Education; Ethicists; Ethics; Ethics Committees; Ethics Consultation; Interdisciplinary Communication; Interprofessional Relations; Malpractice; Medical Education; Medicine; Negotiating; Patient Advocacy; Physician Patient Relationship; Physician's Role; Physicians; Psychology; Sociology; Sociology of Medicine; Technical Expertise;
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