Ethical Decisions: Strong Leadership and Effective Planning Are Key

June 29, 2014
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For months I’ve been listening to books for leisure, but with this latest I’m back on to my professional interests.  However, this one is also personal.

If you are involved in hospital, sub acute or SNF leadership or active with ethics, disaster planning or emergency preparedness in your healthcare organization, you need to read this book.  You also need to read this book if you are a physician…or nurse.  

For months I’ve been listening to books for leisure, but with this latest I’m back on to my professional interests.  However, this one is also personal.

If you are involved in hospital, sub acute or SNF leadership or active with ethics, disaster planning or emergency preparedness in your healthcare organization, you need to read this book.  You also need to read this book if you are a physician…or nurse.  

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During and after these five days at the hospital I know as Baptist (my dad worked in Central Supply and Purchasing many, many moons ago) there was great pain, suffering and difficult decisions.  From hearing all of the “evidence” I must say it was all due to poor planning and unengaged leadership at the top.  The lack of strong leadership lead to delays in response and recovery and scenarios that placed hospital employees in difficult positions.

I know, I wasn’t there!  However, several places along the way I know I would have made different decisions.  For one, if I were CEO/COO/CFO I would have been present, continually assessing the situation and adjusting plans accordingly.  I would NOT have just sat around and waited for the “government” to come and bail me out.

This book comes down to the ethical decisions that take place during emergencies and disasters including  intentionally ending a life.  It goes beyond the hospital staff to also include the community and political response and highlights the importance of having the most difficult conversations before disaster strikes

If you have read the book, do you believe each of key patients mentioned in this book were treated in a manner that would be deemed acceptable?  Would you have been proud of these results had you been the hospital CEO?  I think we can, and have, done better!  Lets learn from the mistakes and not repeat them!

By the way, on the discussion at the end I believe a team should make the needed decisions on a case by case basis weighing the resources available and the risks.  I also believe patients and families deserve an opportunity to contribute.