Ethox Seminar: Ethics at the Coal-Face: do clinical ethics services do anything useful?

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Everyone knows that difficult ethical dilemmas arise in healthcare. Clinical Ethics Services are increasingly a part of the hospital landscape, intended as a mechanism through which to deal with difficult ethical situations. But what do they actually do? And if they are doing something – is it helpful? Perhaps the more important question is – what should they be doing?
In this presentation, Melanie explores the utility of CES. She will begin by presenting difficult cases, and then work through these using the Clinical Ethics Consultation process at her own hospital as a springboard to present and critique various ways that clinical ethics service provision may be approached. She will discuss the difficulty inherent in evaluating CES and present some interesting empirical and philosophical work in this area.

Bio: Dr Melanie Jansen is a medical doctor completing advanced training in General Paediatrics and Paediatric Intensive Care Medicine. She is interested in everything to do with critical care but particularly congenital cardiac disease and trauma management. She is currently involved in research on blood coagulation in trauma. Since medical school, Melanie has had a strong interest in ethics and to pursue this, she completed a Master of Arts in Philosophy during her medical specialist training. Melanie was instrumental in developing the Centre for Children’s Health Ethics and Law (CCHEL) at Children’s Health Queensland, and continues to sit on the steering committee and be a member of the response group for the Clinical Ethics Consultation Service. Melanie has also undertaken training in mediation through the Resolution Institute. She is currently travelling on a Churchill Fellowship to research ways to enrich and inform development of paediatric clinical ethics services. In her ‘spare’ time she tends to multiple cats, a few chickens and her wine cellar, and tries to move as much as possible. She is interested in promoting the arts and creativity in medicine, in building functioning teams in an age of hyper-specialisation, and in bringing more philosophy into the clinical setting.