Psychiatric Hospital Ethics Committee Discussions Over a Span of Nearly Three Decades

Michall Ferencz-Kaddari, Abira Reizer, Meni Koslowsky, Ora Nakash, Shai Konas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Various types of health settings use clinical ethics committees (CEC) to deal with the ethical issues that confront both healthcare providers and their patients. Although these committees are now more common than ever, changes in the content of ethical dilemmas through the years is still a relatively unexplored area of research. The current study examines the major topics brought to the CEC of a psychiatric hospital in Israel and explores whether there were changes in their frequency across nearly three decades. The present paper reports on a thematic analysis of the written verbatim transcripts from 466 ethical topics brought to the CEC between the years 1991 and 2016. The following major topics related to ethical dilemmas were identified: confidentiality (30%), patient autonomy (23%), health records (14%), dual relationship (12%), allocation of resources (11%), inappropriate professional and personal conduct (9%), and multicultural sensitivity (1%). Topics related to confidentiality increased significantly over the years, as did inappropriate professional and personal conduct. In addition, the analysis showed that the content of the ethical cases and the resolutions suggested by the CEC also varied over the years. In conclusion, although most ethical topics have remained relatively stable over time, the discourse around them has evolved, requiring a dynamic assessment and reflection by the mental health practitioners serving as members of a CEC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-71
Number of pages17
JournalHEC Forum
Issue number1
Early online date29 May 2021
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Clinical ethics committee
  • Confidentiality
  • Inappropriate conduct

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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