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Medical Ethics Advisor – March 1, 2016

March 1, 2016

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  • Good ethical policies can empower clinicians and improve bottom line

    While ethics consults typically focus on individual patients’ unique situations, many involve scenarios that recur repeatedly. These are ideally addressed at an organizationwide level, according to Edward J. Dunn, MD, ScD, a fellow in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Wright State University in Dayton, OH. Dunn is a former director of the Integrated Ethics Program at Lexington (KY) VA Medical Center.

  • Are opioid ‘pain agreements’ on solid ethical ground?

    Failure to prescribe opioid analgesics in a manner that reflects “pharmacovigilance” can expose a physician not only to charges of unprofessional practice, but in extreme cases, even criminal prosecution, warns Ben A. Rich, JD, PhD, emeritus professor of internal medicine (Bioethics) at UC Davis School of Medicine. Malpractice lawsuits alleging the physician’s prescribing led to drug-addicted patients are another concern.

  • Complex consent process is “mired in ethical problems”

    Is a prospective research participant struggling to comprehend a lengthy form on the risks and benefits of the study? “A complex consent process is mired in ethical problems,” says Linda Aldoory, PhD, an associate professor of communication at the University of Maryland in College Park.

  • Ebola outbreak brought unprecedented ethical challenges

    Sangeeta Lamba, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine and surgery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, says Ebola was one of the biggest systemwide ethical challenges she’s seen in her career. “Nothing has challenged us more in emergency medicine, in the ethical realm, than Ebola,” she says.

  • Telemedicine sees rapid growth

    Almost all major healthcare systems are adopting some form of telehealth, and it is rapidly becoming a standard of care, says David A. Fleming, MD, MA, MACP, director of University of Missouri’s Center for Health Ethics in Columbia.

  • New guidance on ethics of charity dental clinics

    Informed consent and lack of access to necessary follow-up care are two ethical concerns with charity clinics offering free dental care, according to a white paper from the American Dental Association.