Ethics takes time, but not that long
2007 (English)In: BMC Medical Ethics, ISSN 1472-6939, Vol. 8, no 6, 1-7 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Background: Time and communication are important aspects of the medical consultation.Physician behavior in real-life pediatric consultations in relation to ethical practice, such as informedconsent (provision of information, understanding), respect for integrity and patient autonomy(decision-making), has not been subjected to thorough empirical investigation. Such investigationsare important tools in developing sound ethical praxis.
Methods: 21 consultations for inguinal hernia were video recorded and observers independentlyassessed global impressions of provision of information, understanding, respect for integrity, andparticipation in decision making. The consultations were analyzed for the occurrence of specificphysician verbal and nonverbal behaviors and length of time in minutes.
Results: All of the consultations took less than 20 minutes, the majority consisting of 10 minutesor less. Despite this narrow time frame, we found strong and consistent association betweenincreasing time and higher ratings on all components of ethical practice: information, (β = .43),understanding (β = .52), respect for integrity (β = .60), and decision making (β = .43). Positivenonverbal behaviors by physicians during the consultation were associated particularly with respectfor integrity (β =.36). Positive behaviors by physicians during the physical examination were relatedto respect for children's integrity.
Conclusion: Time was of essence for the ethical encounter. Further, verbal and nonverbal positivebehaviors by the physicians also contributed to higher ratings of ethical aspects. These results canhelp to improve quality of ethical practice in pediatric settings and are of relevance for teaching andpolicy makers.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 8, no 6, 1-7 p.
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-34492DOI: 10.1186/1472-6939-8-6PubMedID: 17524138OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-34492DiVA: diva2:62391