The role of hospital ethics committees in emergency medicine practice.
Emergency physicians face real-time ethical dilemmas that may occur at any hour of the day or night. Hospital ethics committees and ethics consultation services are not always able to provide immediate responses to emergency physicians' consultation requests. When faced with an emergent dilemma, emergency physicians sometimes rely on risk management or hospital counsel to answer legal questions, but may be better served by real-time ethics consultation. When other resources are not immediately available, emergency physicians should feel confident in making timely decisions, guided by basic principles of medical ethics. We make the following recommendations: (1) availability of a member of the hospital ethics committee to provide in-person or telephonic consultation concurrent with patient care; (2) appointment to the hospital ethics committee of an emergency physician who is familiar with bioethical principles and is available for consultation when other ethics consultants are not; and (3) development of educational tools by professional societies or similar organizations to assist emergency physicians in making reasoned and defensible clinical ethics decisions.
Published In/Presented At
Baker, E. F., Geiderman, J. M., Kraus, C. K., & Goett, R. (2020). The role of hospital ethics committees in emergency medicine practice. Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians open, 1(4), 403–407. https://doi.org/10.1002/emp2.12136
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Emergency Medicine