Charity Scott, Catherine C. Henson Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Law, Health & Society at Georgia State University College of Law, has published a thought-provoking article entitled, Ethics Consultations and Conflict Engagement in Health Care, Cardozo J. of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 15, pp. 363-423, 2014; Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-11. In her research paper, Professor Scott explores the dichotomy between alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and health care ethics consultations.
Here is the abstract:
This article explores the intersection of two professional fields – bioethics and clinical ethics consultation in health care on one hand, and alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) and conflict management on the other – which until recent years remained relatively unknown to each other. It marries the literatures and lessons of these two fields in order to promote the quality of ethics consultations in hospitals and other health care organizations.
Increasingly, health care ethics committees and consultants acknowledge the need to employ the frameworks, approaches, and tools of good conflict management to do their work effectively. Similarly, conflict specialists and ADR professionals are becoming increasingly interested in adapting their skills and expertise to health care organizations, yet they may be largely unfamiliar with the unique cultures and operations of these organizations that impact the nature of the conflicts that arise and the practicalities of their management. This article is intended to provide the common ground for professional understanding across these two fields and a framework for adapting the core principles and insights of the conflict-management field to the particular context of health care ethics consultation. The ultimate goal of improving ethics committees’ and consultants’ abilities to engage effectively with the conflicts that are referred to them is to improve the quality of patient care.