Conflict Resolution in the Clinical Setting: A Story Beyond Bioethics Mediation.

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  • Author(s): Morreim, Haavi
  • Source:
    Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. Winter2015, Vol. 43 Issue 4, p843-856. 14p.
  • Additional Information
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    • Abstract:
      Because ethics consults are often more about conflict than moral puzzlement, the skills of conflict resolution and communication facilitation are now deemed a core competency for ethics consultants. Those skills range beyond the traditional ambit of 'bioethics mediation,' as illustrated here by a recent mediation regarding a difficult discharge. As conflict permeates healthcare, often spawning downstream ethical issues, conflict resolution services might be deemed a genre of preventive ethics suitably offered by ethics committees. If so, a strong distinction must be made. 'Bioethics mediation' as historically defined is a curious amalgam between a consultant who recommends, and a mediator who facilitates consensus among the parties at the table. On closer examination this approach is problematic, particularly in the clinical setting. A mediator who acts as consultant, telling parties what they should do or directly circumscribing the limits of an 'acceptable' decision, quickly becomes just another pair of fists in the fight. At that point the odds for reaching genuine agreement, as opposed to a transient acquiescence, diminish markedly. Accordingly, those who undertake conflict resolution in the clinical setting need to distinguish quite sharply between facilitative mediation, versus a consultant's role. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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