Goals of Ethics Consultation

There is disagreement about the appropriate goals of ethics consultation. John La Puma and E. Rush Priest have suggested that ethics consultations's primary goal should be "to effect ethical outcomes in particular cases and to teach physicians to construct their own frameworks for ethical decisions making" (La Puma and Priest, p. 17). Patient-rights advocates disagree. They argue that the primary goal of ethics consultation is the promotion of patient autonomy by encouraging shared decision making (Tulsky and Lo). John Fletcher takes a broader view. He identifies four goals of ethics consultation: (1) to protect and enhance shared decision making in the resolution of ethical problems; (2) to prevent poor outcomes; (3) to increase knowledge of clinical ethics; and (4) to increase knowledge of self and others through participation in resolving conflicts (Fletcher, 1992).

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