a1 Health Law Program at Pace University School of Law, White Plains, New York
a2 University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, Virginia
a3 Department of Medical History and Ethics, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
a4 University of Freiburg Medical School, Freiburg, Germany
a5 Humanities in Medicine, Pediatrics, and Philosophy, College of Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station
a6 Center for Healthcare Ethics, St. Joseph Health System, Orange, California
Whether ethics is too important to be left to the experts or so important that it must be is an age-old question. The emergence of clinical ethicists raises it again, as a question about professionalism. What role clinical ethicists should play in healthcare decision making – teacher, mediator, or consultant – is a question that has generated considerable debate but no consensus.