Ethics Case Discussion

What is an Ethical Case Discussion?

Ethical case discussions are a way to discuss the different perspectives of the multiprofessional team in a moderated equal exchange, to analyze them in a structured way, and to arrive at an ethically justified recommendation for action. An ethics case discussion can take place at different points in time:

  • Prospective: ethical conflict situations within a treatment process,
  • Retrospectively: reappraisal and clarification of past ethical dilemmas
  • Preventive: Case discussions independent of a specific case, referring to frequently occurring ethical conflict situations and challenges.

Course of an ethics case discussion

For the request, please have the following information ready if possible:

  • Who inquires? (Name, Clinic/Department/Stat, Tel)
  • What is the occasion? (Question)
  • Like is the initial situation? (medical, nursing, psychosocial)
  • Which Offer is desired? (Consil; individual case consultation or consultation in the CEC.)
  • Who should participate? (Participation of persons from at least 3 professional groups is recommended).
  • What place is suitable for the offer? (ward, seminar room in the clinic or in the institute)

Goals of an ethical case discussion

The goal of ethics case consultation is to arrive at a consensual solution to an ethical conflict through analysis and moderation with the weighing of ethical arguments. This also includes the promotion of a structured procedure when ethical conflict situations arise.


  • Vollmann, J. Clinical ethics committees and ethics consultation in Germany: development to date and future perspectives. Bioethica Forum. 2008; 1(1): 33-39
  • Board of the Academy for Ethics in Medicine e.V. Standards for ethics consultation in health care institutions. Ethics Med. 2010; 22: 149-153
  • Vollmann, J. Clinic: tasks and criteria for clinical ethics committees. Bundesgesundheitsblatt. 2008; 51: 865-871
  • Woellert, K. The clinical ethics committee: goals, structures, and tasks of clinical ethics. Bundesgesundheitsblatt. 2019; 62: 738-743
  • Vollmann, J., Burchardi, N., Weidtmann, A. Clinical ethics committees in German university hospitals. A survey of all medical directors and nursing directors. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2004; 129: 1237-1242.


The Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine welcomes your contact.

T  +49 89 4140 4041

Mon-Thu: 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Fri: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (core hours)
Ismaninger street 22
81675 Munich