Bioethics Mediation: A Guide to Shaping Shared Solutions


Bioethics Mediation: A Guide to Shaping Shared Solutions


Publication Date



Bioethics Mediation offers stories about patients, families, and health care providers enmeshed in conflict as they wrestle with decisions about life and death. It provides guidance for those charged with supporting the patient's traditional and religious commitments and personal wishes. Today's medical system, without intervention, privileges those within shared cultures of communication and disadvantages those lacking power and position, such as immigrants, the poor, and nonprofessionals. This book gives clinical ethics consultants, palliative care providers, and physicians, nurses, and other medical staff the tools they need to understand and manage conflict while respecting the values of patients and family members.

Conflicts come in different guises, and the key to successful resolution is early identification and intervention. Every bioethics mediator needs to be prepared with skills to listen, "level the playing field," identify individual interests, explore options, and help craft a "principled resolution" – a consensus that identifies a plan aligned with accepted ethical principles, legal stipulations, and moral rules and that charts a clear course of future intervention.

The organization of the book makes it ideal for teaching or as a handbook for the practitioner. It includes actual cases, modified to protect the privacy of patients, providers, and institutions; detailed case analyses; tools for step-by-step mediation; techniques for the mediator; sample chart notes; and a set of actual role plays with expert mediator and bioethics commentaries. The role plays include:

  • discharge planning for a dying patient
  • an at-risk pregnancy
  • HIV and postsurgical complications in the ICU
  • treatment for a dying adolescent
  • dialysis and multiple systems failure

Expanded by two-thirds from the 2004 edition, the new edition features two new role plays, a new chapter on how to write chart notes, and a discussion of new understandings of the role of the clinical ethics consultant.


Health Law and Policy | Law | Medical Jurisprudence




Vanderbilt University Press


Nashville, TN


"In addition to a spirited theoretical defense of bioethics mediation, the authors present a detailed practical model for how one does bioethics mediation. Scholars will find the book a gold mine of ideas worthy of further investigation."
Robert M. Arnold, MD

About the 1st Edition:
"Dubler and Liebman show how mediation and mediative techniques can facilitate the resolution of conflicts that, while often framed in abstract bioethical terms, are better understood as disputes within families and between families and professionals. They offer practical guidance and include in this helpful book everything one would need to train professionals for this innovative work."
Robert Mnookin

"This is a valuable book for all health care providers who want to understand and resolve bioethical concerns and for faculty who teach bioethics ... Highly recommended."

"A dramatically innovative approach to clinical ethics. The mediation framework seems intuitively right for the kinds of problems encountered by ethics committees and consultants. This approach will surely provoke much discussion and win many followers in the years ahead."
Jonathan D. Moreno

Bioethics Mediation: A Guide to Shaping Shared Solutions

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