Michael Szego, Clinical Ethicist, Centre for Clinical Ethics reflects on his journey from completing his PhD with Prof. Roderick McInnes to earning a Master of Health Science in Bioethics and launching his career that brings together clinical consultations, policy development, education, and research. Michael highlights eureka moments in his career trajectory, the power of PhD training, and the importance of following your heart in career planning.
Can you describe your current position as a Clinical Ethicist?
Clinical ethicists help clinicians, patients and their families identify, analyze and resolve ethical issues in medicine. Clinical consultations, policy development, education and research are the four main aspects of my job.
Clinical consultations are an interesting part of my job as I am brought into difficult clinical cases often involving disagreements among healthcare providers and/or patients and their families about what the right course of action should be. A classic example would be when there is a disagreement about whether life support should be withdrawn from a patient in the intensive care unit. I try and provide a structured approach and help work towards a resolution while keeping patient values/wishes at the forefront of the discussion. I value this part of my job as it marries the theoretical with the practical and gives me an opportunity to help patients/families make difficult decisions.