Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




To identify the reasons why physicians request or do not request ethics consultation and to determine the priority of ethical issues for those demanding consultation. Materials and methods: This survey was conducted using a self-administered questionnaire, and 270 clinicians (surgeons and internists) from 3 different medical school hospitals were included. The questionnaire consisted of Likert-type statements related to the reasons for requesting or not requesting ethics consultation and a ranking list of ethical dilemmas according to the physicians' priorities. Results: Of all clinicians, 40.4% were employed in surgical departments and 59.6% in internal medicine departments. Most of the physicians (90%) stated that they wanted to demand ethics consultations. The first reason surgeons gave for demanding consultation was a desire to receive help with judicial problems; among internists, the most common reason for demanding a consultation was to achieve a clear conscience (P > 0.05). "Withdrawal of life-support-system decision" was determined to be the main subject for which clinicians requested ethics consultations. Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that clinicians require ethics consultations; nevertheless, it is a fact that there is a limited number of requests and inadequate experience with applying. This situation may be caused by the lack of clinical ethics support services that deal with ethics consultation in Turkey.


Ethics consultation, clinical ethics, ethical dilemmas, ethics education, physician's attitude

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