Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ethics Committees and Reviewing Policies

Rosemary Flanigan
May 25, 2010

I’m ashamed to say that our committee does NOT review patients’ rights policies every two years and I am going to find out who does review them!

I’ve just talked to George Flanagan who is visiting every ethics committee in our area and he tells me that almost all of them have policies to review on their agendas. Other entities in the hospital or system has recognized the need for the ethics committee to do a review—and I think that is wise.

Incidentally, in the May 27th New England Journal of Medicine there is an article by Bruce Vladeck (he gave one of our lectures several summers ago, and as I was taking him from one location to another, I “lost” I-70!!), “Fixing Medicare’s Physician Payment System.” What a conundrum!

AND that issue has seven Letters to the Editor about Dr. Truog’s article, “Is It Always Wrong to Perform Futile CPR?” I’ve used that case with two ethics brown bag sessions and found the groups siding with Dr. Truog, much to my amazement.

The letters here lean toward the futility of the project and Dr. T replies, saying that “the pristine ethic of ‘treat only the patient, not the family’” is “simplistic” and “may not do justice to the complex dynamics that are often at play in end-of-life care.” My two groups would agree!



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