Rosalind Ladd , professor of medical ethics at Wheaton College in Norton and Brown Medical School in Providence , serves on three hospital ethics committees
.They came into existence , she
said , as a result of the Karen Quinlan case in 1974 when the courts ruled that every hospital should have such a group.
These committees , she
said , usually consist of doctors , nurses , psychologists , psychiatrists , ethicists , social workers , hospital administrators and trustees , and members of the community.They educate hospital staff and the community , review hospital policy , and serve as a resource for case consultations.Ladd
has seen improvements in professional training as medical schools provide students with more exposure to ethical issues that keep changing as technology changes.Brown and other schools offer courses like the one at Harvard that connect medical students and terminal patients , she said
.They also offer continuing education to practicing physicians and nurses who may not have been exposed to these issues during their own training.Social workers as well are now required to take a certain number of course hours in ethics , she