A significant amount of discussion in the bioethics community has been devoted to the question of whether individuals performing ethics consultations in healthcare institutions have any special expertise. In addition, articles in the lay press have questioned the “added value” that bioethicists bring to ethical dilemmas. Those at the forefront of the bioethics community have argued repeatedly that those doing ethics consults cannot simply be well-intentioned individuals, that some training in bioethics, group process, and facilitation is necessary to competently execute a consult. As one bioethicist commented:
if you approach any endeavor as an amateur activity, you will get, in the end, an amateurish version of the activity. Without a sufficient commitment of personnel, time, support, and financial resources, a healthcare organization will get the ‘ethics’ program … it set out to create: an inept, unskilled, inefficient, and highly risky ‘program’ in healthcare ethics and bioethics.