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A Survey of the Ethical Problems Faced by Healthcare Professionals and the Need for Clinical Ethics Consultation Services in University Hospitals in South Korea

  • Korean Journal of Medical Ethics
  • Abbr : 의료윤리
  • 2017, 20(4), pp.376-385
  • DOI : 10.35301/ksme.2017.20.4.376
  • Publisher : The Korean Society For Medical Ethics
  • Research Area : Medicine and Pharmacy > General Medicine
  • Received : November 19, 2017
  • Accepted : December 11, 2017
  • Published : December 31, 2017

KIM,MinSun 1 김초희 2 HONG,Jinui 3 AN,AhRhem 1 CHOI,EunKyung 4 Bhumsuk Keam ORD ID 5 YUN,YoungHo 6 Heo, Dae Seog 7 Park Hye Yoon ORD ID 8

1서울대학교병원 공공보건의료사업단
2서울대학교병원 소아청소년과
3서울대학교병원 호스피스센터
4서울대학교병원 의학역사문화원
5서울대학교병원
6서울대학교병원 가정의학과
7서울대학교
8서울대학교병원 정신건강의학과

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to investigate the nature and number of ethical conflicts faced by physicians and nurses working at university hospitals in South Korea and also to assess the need for clinical ethics consultation services. Data collection was conducted from August 6 to 24, 2015 at three university hospitals in metropolitan areas; a total of 316 physicians and nurses participated in the study. The results showed that 85.1% of physicians and 76.6% of nurses answered that they had experienced ethical problems more than once a year during the course of their career, and about one third of respondents experienced such conflicts at least once every three months. For physicians, ethical dilemmas arose most often in the context of end-of-life care, mainly in terminating life-sustaining treatment (65.7%) and notifying patients of the end of medical treatment (63.6%). Ethical dilemmas experienced by nurses related primarily to difficult care decisions other than life-sustaining treatment (73.9%), impaired decision-making in patients (66.7%), and dealing with surrogate decision-makers (66.7%). When faced with ethical dilemmas, healthcare professionals usually made decisions informally by themselves or in consultation with close colleagues. More than 97% of respondents answered that they needed a clinical ethics consultation service. Future research should focus on how the ethics consulting services described in the Life-sustaining Treatment Decision-making Act of 2018 can be developed into an effective model for solving ethical problems that arise in medical practice.

Citation status

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