Tackling Neuroethical Conundrums (Podcast)
Expanding neurological treatment options bring new ethical conundrums. One of our neuroethicists explores the underlying issues in this Neuro Pathways podcast episode.
As neurology and neurosurgery treatment options have expanded, neuroethical conundrums have proliferated. For example:
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Clinical ethicist Lauren Sankary, JD, Associate Director of the Neuroethics Program at Cleveland Clinic, helps tackle issues like these every day alongside clinicians, patients and families. She explains more about her role in the newest episode of Cleveland Clinic’s Neuro Pathways podcast.
In the 17-minute audio interview, she talks about:
Click the player below to listen to the podcast now, or read on for a short edited excerpt. Check out more Neuro Pathways episodes at clevelandclinic.org/neuropodcast or wherever you get your podcasts.
Sankary: Often we’re working with relatively imperfect information when we’re communicating in a healthcare setting. Sometimes it can take pressure off by acknowledging we don’t have perfect knowledge about what treatment might be best for any individual patient.
I also think it can be helpful for those of us who work in healthcare to think about some of the assumptions we bring to our practices. I’ve observed, just in interacting with patients, that I have biases myself. I want as much information as possible in order to make decisions. But I’ve met patients who have told me that getting a lot of information can be incredibly stressful for them, and it can be really helpful to get clear guidance from their clinicians. So that was an assumption that I brought to my work in healthcare that I learned to check.
Podcast host Alex Rae-Grant, MD: And, certainly, it seems as if different patients and families have different ways of thinking through decision making. It becomes quite personalized, doesn’t it?
Sankary: It does. And I think it can be incredibly helpful to directly ask patients, “How do you normally make important decisions in your life? Whom do you usually talk to when you’re thinking through difficult decisions or thinking about your health and treatments that might be right for you?” I’d encourage clinicians to ask that directly and ask patients how they’d like to receive information so that we can personalize care in that way.