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Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 515–529 | Cite as

Falling on deaf ears: a qualitative study on clinical ethical committees in France

  • Catherine DekeuwerEmail author
  • Brenda Bogaert
  • Nadja Eggert
  • Claire Harpet
  • Morgane Romero
Scientific Contribution

Abstract

The French medical context is characterized by institutionalization of the ethical reflection in health care facilities and an important disparity between spaces of ethical reflection. In theory, the healthcare professional may mobilise an arsenal of resources to help him in his ethical reflection. But what happens in practice? We conducted semi-structured interviews with 22 health-care professionals who did and did not have recourse to clinical ethical committees. We also implemented two focus groups with 18 professionals involved in various spaces of ethical reflection in order to let them debate about a better way to organize ethical reflection in their institutional contexts. The qualitative analysis allows to us to underline the coexistence of different conceptions of ethics among health care professionals. We also observed that the participants in our study shared the experience of ethically problematic situations as roadblocks in the process of communication and decision-making. We therefore report the factors which favour or inhibit the ethical course leading to the resolution or at the very least soothing of the situation at hand. Finally, we discuss methodological issues and underline the fact that while the patient is at the heart of the professional’s ethical preoccupations, this does not imply that they are actors in decisions that concern them.

Keywords

Clinical ethical committee France Qualitative research Institutionalization of ethics Interprofessional communication Doctor–patient communication 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We wish to warmly thank the participants in this study as well as the students who contributed to a part of this study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculté de Philosophie, Institut de Recherches Philosophiques de LyonUniversité Jean MoulinLyonFrance
  2. 2.Chaire Valeurs du Soin Centré Patient, Institut de Recherches Philosophiques de LyonUniversité Jean MoulinLyonFrance
  3. 3.Plateforme Interdisciplinaire d’Éthique (Ethos), Université de Lausanne. Bâtiment Amphipôle, Quartier UNIL-SorgeLausanneSwitzerland
  4. 4.UMR 7206 Laboratoire d’Éco-anthropologie et d’Ethnobiologie MNHN/MdHParisFrance
  5. 5.Espace Ethique Auvergne Rhône-AlpesLyonFrance

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