MURRAY PIZETTE, M.D.
To the editor: The article by Uhlmann and associates (1) addresses the ethical dimensions of medical decision making in nursing homes in a useful and thoughtful manner. However, the authors' willingness to appoint institutional ethics committees as surrogates for intellectually impaired patients raises concerns. Such committees, through their bioethical expertise, can assist medical caregivers and patients' surrogates in the resolution of uncertainties and conflicts that arise during the care of incompetent patients.
Nevertheless, an institutional ethics committee may find itself torn between concerns for a specific patient's interests, the interests of the institution itself, and the interests of other patients
PIZETTE M. Institutional Ethics Committees. Ann Intern Med. ;107:601–602. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-107-4-601_3
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1987;107(4):601-602.
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