Thursday, April 9, 2009

Discerning, Deliberating and Deciding

Rosemary Flanigan
April 9, 2009
On April 7 we had over 70 ethics committee members at our training workshop and it was an excellent morning. I thought Terry Rosell did an exceptionally good job (along with John Lantos, Myra, and Bill Colby, of course) leading the discussion of a case at our 8-person tables.

I shall tell you about the case next week, but what Terry made us do is to consciously move together through Discerning (what’s going on? what are the facts?) to Deliberating (what responses are possible?) which in turn led us to Deciding (what are we going to do? and, most interestingly, why have we decided on this?) and finally to Doing (what? when? how?)

It moved the discussion along, towards a goal, within a time frame, and led us to resolution with an ethical basis.

I know, I know, that’s what you do at every ethics committee case consult. But for some reason, I found it refreshing to move together from facts (people love to sit on this step and they can question facts all day!) to possibles to a decision with a reason—and finally, to a plan of action.

Within our reflection on authenticity, I am glad Brian reminded us of Rebecca Dresser’s “Another Voice” at the start of the issue: if respect for a person’s authenticity is the ground of our respect for that person’s advance directive, might we not have good reasons sometimes to override specific requests stated in the AD??
Why? Because they don’t jibe with who the person really is.


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