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    Ethics committees in health care settings

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    Identify an issue that an institutional ethics committee may have to face in a healthcare setting. Discuss what the ethics committee might do in that scenario and how its decision might impact the operations and policies of the healthcare organization.

    How do we train the members to be objective and not subjective? Should any patient in a hospital have access to committee members or should such access be restricted?

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    Solution Preview

    Dear student,

    This solution deals with the question concerning ethical committees as requested. I have also provided several links to resources, accessible online. These are well worth a read. I encourage you to expand on the points made here and particularly to introduce your own thoughts on the matter.

    Function of Ethics Committee
    The function of an ethics committee is to review and evaluate circumstances in which a decision needs to be made about how to proceed in a way that is ethically appropriate. End of life decisions and informed consent are examples of issues that an ethics committee may be called on to resolve within an organization. In addition to contributing to policy making, the ethics committee may be called on to review individual cases that present as ethically problematic. (check out the resources below for more information on the function of an ethics committee)

    An example of an issue involving end of life decision making.

    Case study:
    Debra, a 42 year old woman suffering from a motor-neuron disease has been in an out of hospital for a number of years. She is currently suffering from a bout a pneumonia and it is unclear whether this time, she will be able to get well enough to go home. Her neurologist suggests that putting her on the ventilator may be her only chance of recovery, however, her family insist that Debra would not want to die on a ventilator (which is ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution includes an example of a situation in which an ethics committee may need to be consulted. It also gives a brief discussion on how an ethics committee can be trained to be objective and whether patients should have access to ethics committees.