Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics

Special Section: Ethics Consultants and Ethics Consultations

Ethics Consultation: The Least Dangerous Profession?

Giles R. Scofielda1, John C. Fletchera2, Albert R. Jonsena3, Christian Liljea4, Donnie J. Selfa5 and Judith Wilson Rossa6

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.