Giles Scofield, JD, MA, is a clinical ethicist at the Centre for Clinical Ethics in Toronto. In the selection below, Scofield argues that the scope and limits of ethics consultation is not well defined. Because ethics consultation has no clear boundaries, it is impossible to know when boundaries have been crossed, and whether such crossings are justified. Scofield also notes that, unlike other consultation services in the health care setting, ethics consultation lacks a credentialing process of any kind. Whereas ethics consultants typically are regarded as professionals, they lack all of the formal attributes traditionally associated with a profession, such as a code of ethics, standards of accreditation, and conditions of licensure. Scofield concludes that the field of ethics consultation is without any means of ensuring that its practitioners have expertise or perform in a competent manner.
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