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Guidance for Healthcare Ethics Committees

Cambridge University Press
Place of Publication: 
New York

"In 1992, The Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation (The Joint Commission) began requiring every accredited hospital to have a mechanism to handle ethical concerns within its institution. In response to this (and other cultural forces in medicine), hospitals across America have come to satisfy the requirement by constituting an institutional Healthcare Ethics Committee (HEC)1. Physicians, nurses, administrators, social workers, chaplains, community volunteers and others populate these committees. Yet by their own admission, many of these individuals, while well intentioned and personally invested, have neither training in ethics nor have the tools at their disposal to aid in their ethical considerations. Even more basically, many members of an HEC, not to mention a healthcare institution writ-large, are comfortable explaining what constitutes an ethical consideration. So, while these individuals are the people both medical professionals and patients turn to for ethical insight into the complexities of medical decision-making, they themselves recognize that they are often underprepared to handle the depth and complexity of many moral2 problems raised by health care"-- (Publisher)