U.K. Should Have Clinical Ethicists in Hospitals As Well
An article appears in today’s British Medical Journal (BMJ) arguing for the presence of clinical ethicists in
1) Although doctors receive ethical training during the course of their education, that training is cursory and insufficient in providing them with a good foundation that may be used in assessing ethical dilemmas faced on a day-to-day basis. Further, there’s little time for doctors to receive more training while in school given the already long and exhausting education period.
2) Although hospitals have Ethics Committees (EC), not all doctors feel comfortable enough or have time enough to approach these ECs. The article emphasizes that most novice doctors feel uncomfortable seeking out guidance as it reveals their ignorance.
3) Most hospitals in the
4) Based on these points, the article argues that
Some thoughts on these:
In respect to point #1, I wonder if there are other venues that provide a crutch for ethical training while the doctors serve out their residency? That is, ought we not look at the larger picture, outside of formal training? So, although doctors don’t receive formal ethics training of the detail noted by the author, I’m sure they interact with more experienced doctors who provide them with guidance. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if these discussions occur only when presented with an ethical quandary…and thus, at times too late.
I do, however, understand that there is no feasible way to increase the amount of ethical training doctors receive during their education. I wonder though, whether that training could be improved upon. Perhaps made to be more interactive by presenting students with situations that commonly occur in practice and have them decide in some dialectical method.