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C. Ethics Consultations Useful in Resolving Conflicts about Care

Narrator: This is Science Today. At some point in our lives, many of us will be faced with difficult and confusing decisions about medical treatment for a seriously ill loved one or for ourselves. To help us make those decisions, every hospital offers professional guidance in the form of an ethics consultation. Felicia Cohn, director of medical ethics at the University of California , Irvine , participated in a study that found ethics consultations were beneficial for intensive care patients.

Cohn: What ethics consultations are designed to do is to help families, patients, and health care team members make difficult decisions about treatment plans.

Narrator: Ethics consultations are also useful in resolving disputes that may result in inappropriately prolonged, non-beneficial or unwanted treatments.

Cohn: We come in and assess the medical situation and the preferences of everyone involved to determine if it's ethically appropriate to withdraw certain treatments in a particular situation.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.