Biomedical conflicts in the heartland. A systemwide ethics committee serves rural facilities.


Big-city medical research centers are not the only institutions facing ethical dilemmas. Bioethical conflicts occur regardless of community location or size. The Presentation Health Care System, Sioux Falls, SD, established a systemwide ethics committee. It owns, leases, or manages 15 rural institutions in four North Central states: South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Minnesota. Of these facilities, 10 are hospitals and 5 are nursing homes. Most are located in small communities stretched along 1,100 interstate miles. The Presentation system began organizing its ethics committee in spring 1985. The ethics committee was to provide educational opportunities for its members, as well as for local facilities. These opportunities were to include subscriptions to appropriate publications, meetings with guest speakers, videos, and group "brainstorming" sessions. An annual ethics conference would provide community education and address the ethical issues confronting affiliates. Organizers scheduled a planning session at a systemwide leadership conference and invited anyone interested to attend. Eventually, 23 representatives of system affiliates were selected as members of the committee. The group meets twice a year. Since 1985, the committee has been holding ethics conferences on a regular basis.

Cite this paper

@article{Rauh1990BiomedicalCI, title={Biomedical conflicts in the heartland. A systemwide ethics committee serves rural facilities.}, author={Joshua Rauh and Angeline Bushy}, journal={Health progress}, year={1990}, volume={71 2}, pages={80-3} }