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INTD 4019 Clinical Ethics

p>Ethical issues occur in medicine on a daily basis. Some are easily solved drawing on personal experience, values, hospital policies, law, and rational decision-making. Other cases are more challenging dealing with family dynamics, falling outside of existing law or policies, or adding professional discomfort for health care providers. In these more challenging scenarios, often the health care team will call for an ethics consult to help (a) identify the ethics issues, (b) frame and ask appropriate questions, (c) meet patients, families, and care providers as well as review charts, and (d) offer recommendations for solutions. Students in this 2-week course will focus on work in clinical ethics consultation. The student will participate in rounds as an ethicist, do in-depth reading on clinical ethics consultation, observe clinical ethics consults, attend ethics committee meetings, and provide an educational seminar to hospital staff on an issue of ethical significance. This course is intended to give students the experience of participating in a clinical ethics consultation service. This two week course consists of targeted readings, educational presentations, participating in rounds as an ethicist (as opposed to as a medical student), and understanding the various processes behind clinical ethics consultation.


Learning Objectives:

  • Explain theories of clinical ethics consultation
  • Understand the process of clinical ethics consultation and how it assists in the care of the patient
  • Identify ethical issues in clinical cases
  • Provide ethics education on a topic of identified importance

Credit: Students will receive two credits for completion of this course. Students are required to attend a meeting of the ethics committee, to attend all ethics rounds while in the course, to complete independent reading, to provide an educational seminar to a group of health professionals, to complete an ethics case analysis drawing on the literature, and to observe ethics consultations.

Grading: Students will receive a grade of A, B, or Fail for this course. To receive a grade of B, the student will have to attend an ethics committee meeting, attend 2 rounds, complete independent readings, provide an adequate educational seminar, complete an adequate case analysis, and attend one ethics consultation (if available). To receive a grade of A, the student will need to do all of the above plus attend 3 or more rounds, provide an excellent education seminar, complete an excellent case analysis, and attend two or more ethics consultations (if available).


Reading List: ASBH. 1998. Core Competencies for Health Care Ethics Consultation. Chicago: American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.

Ausilio MP, Arnold RM, Younger SJ. 2003. Ethics Consultation: From Theory to Practice. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Carter, Michele A. & Klugman, Craig M. 2001. Cultural Engagement in Clinical Ethics: A Model for Ethics Consultation. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. 10:63-33.

Dubler NN & Liebman CB. 2004. Bioethics Mediation: A Guide to Shaping Shared Solutions. New York: United Hospital Fund


Limited enrollment.