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Hospital Ethics Committees as the Forum of Last Resort: An Idea Whose Time Has Not Come

Robin Fretwell Wilson

University of Illinois College of Law

Hospital Ethics Committees have become a fixture in American medicine and are poised to become the forum of last resort for end-of-life decisions as a result of state statutes giving committees immunity and privilege. The effect of such legislation is to transform ethics committees from an adjunct to the courts into a substitute for them, without giving patients any of the process protections attendant to judicial decisionmaking. In this Article, Professor Wilson provides a critical comparison of ethics committees to courts and concludes that contrary to the conventional wisdom of the ethics committee movement, it is unclear that hospital ethics committees are innately better suited to make end-of-life decisions than state and federal courts.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 44

JEL Classification: D7, D8, I1

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Date posted: February 1, 1999  

Suggested Citation

Wilson, Robin Fretwell, Hospital Ethics Committees as the Forum of Last Resort: An Idea Whose Time Has Not Come. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=147908 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.147908

Contact Information

Robin Fretwell Wilson (Contact Author)
University of Illinois College of Law ( email )
504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217.244.7582 (Phone)

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