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October 2021

The dream of consensus: Finding common ground in a bioethical context

Author(s): Rowell, M.

Journal/Book: Theor Med Bioeth. 1999; 20: Spuiboulevard 50, PO Box 17, 3300 AA Dordrecht, Netherlands. Kluwer Academic Publ. 261-273.

Abstract: Consensus is the holy grail of bioethics, the lynch pin of the assumption that well informed, well intentioned people may reach generally acceptable positions on ethically contentious issues. It has been especially important in bioethics, where advancing technology has assured an increasing field of complex medical dilemmas. This paper results on the use of a multicriterion decision making system (MCDM) analyzing group process in an attempt to better define hospital policy. In a pilot program at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, a series of small scale focus groups was constituted to examine criteria defining organ transplant eligibility. Criteria were organized hierarchically using the Analytic Hierarchy Process, an MCDM approach, and the resulting data was analyzed using Expert Choice 9.0, software designed to facilitate AHP analysis. Qualitative and quantitative analysis map barriers to practical consensus in a way not previously possible.

Note: Article Koch T, Hosp Sick Children, Dept Bioeth, 515 Univ Ave, Toronto, ON M5G 1X8, CANADA

Keyword(s): analytic hierarchy process; bioethics; consensus; transplantation; group decision making; TRANSPLANTATION

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