Clinical Ethics Consultation: Examining How American and Japanese Experts Analyze an Alzheimer's Case
Aulisio, Mark P.
BMC Medical Ethics [electronic] 2008 January 29; 9(2): 8 p. Accessed: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcmedethics/1472-6939/9/2 [2008 May 24]
Background: Few comparative studies of clinical ethics consultation practices have been reported. The objective of this study was to explore how American and Japanese experts analyze an Alzheimer's case regarding ethics consultation. Methods: We presented the case to physicians and ethicists from the US and Japan (one expert from each field from both countries; total = 4) and obtained their responses through a questionnaire and in-depth interviews. Results: Establishing a consensus was a common goal among American and Japanese participants. In attempting to achieve consensus, the most significant similarity between Japanese and American ethics consultants was that they both appeared to adopt an "ethics facilitation" approach. Differences were found in recommendation and assessment between the American and Japanese participants. In selecting a surrogate, the American participants chose to contact the grandson before designating the daughter-in-law as the surrogate decision-maker. Conversely the Japanese experts assumed that the daughter-in-law was the surrogate. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that consensus building through an "ethics facilitation" approach may be a commonality to the practice of ethics consultation in the US and Japan, while differences emerged in terms of recommendations, surrogate assessment, and assessing treatments. Further research is needed to appreciate differences not only among different nations including, but not limited to, countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas, but also within each country.
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Clinical Ethics; Comparative Studies; Consensus; Consultation; Ethicists; Ethics; Ethics Consultation; Interviews; Law; Methods; Physicians; Research; Ethics Committees / Consultation; Neurosciences and Mental Health Therapies; International and Political Dimensions of Biology and Medicine; Health Care Programs for the Aged;
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