An ethics curriculum for teaching emergency medicine residents

Moskop, J.C.; Mitchell, J.M.; Ray, V.G.

Annals of Emergency Medicine 19(2): 187-192


ISSN/ISBN: 0196-0644
PMID: 2301798
DOI: 10.1016/s0196-0644(05)81806-2
Accession: 039245809

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Instruction in medical ethics has become standard in undergraduate medical education within the past decade; more recently, several specialty boards have formally endorsed ethics teaching and evaluation for residents as well. However, the current emergency medicine Core Content, representing emergency medicine's central body of knowledge, makes no specific mention of ethics. An ethics curriculum is proposed to remedy this gap in the emergency medicine residency curriculum. Issues frequently encountered in the emergency department are emphasized, and topics include moral foundations of clinical medicine, the unique ethical concerns of emergency medicine, patient competence, informed consent and refusal of treatment, truthfulness, confidentiality, foregoing life-sustaining treatment, duty to provide care, moral issues in disaster medicine, allocation of health care, and research and teaching involving human subjects. Educational objectives and readings for each of these topics are presented along with sample case scenarios to be used in a small group discussion format.