Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine 2016. 9(1):.

Hospital/clinical ethics committees' notion: an overview
Fatemeh Hajibabaee, Soodabeh Joolaee, Mahammad Ali Cheraghi, Pooneh Salari, Patricia Rodney


Hospital ethics committees (HECs) help clinicians deal with the ethical challenges which have been raised during clinical practice. A comprehensive literature review was conducted to provide a historical background of the development of HECs internationally and describe their functions and practical challenges of their day to day work. This is the first part of a comprehensive literature review conducted between February 2014 and August 2016 by searching through scientific databases. The keyword ethics committee, combined with hospital, clinic, and institution, was used without a time limitation. All original and discussion articles, as well as other scientific documents were included. Of all the articles and theses found using these keywords, only 56 were consistent with the objectives of the study. Based on the review goals, the findings were divided into three main categories; the inception of HECs in the world, the function of HECs, and the challenges of HECs. According to the results, the Americas Region and European Region countries have been the most prominent considering the establishment of HECs. However, the majority of the Eastern Mediterranean Region and South-East Asia Region countries are only beginning to establish these committees in their hospitals. The results highlight the status and functions of HECs in different countries and may be used as a guide by health policymakers and managers who are at the inception of establishing these committees in their hospitals.



clinical ethics, ethics committee, ethics consultation

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