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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

John Murphy

Second Committee Member

Gerard Magill

Third Committee Member

Stephen Sapp

Fourth Committee Member

Linda L. Belgrave


As technology advances, health care decisions have become increasingly complex. American hospitals, based on accreditation standards, are required to have a system and process to address ethics, patient rights, and responsibilities. These practices vary widely, and there is very little consistency and few standards across the country. Key court cases have provided minor structure, and the federal government has been silent in the formulation of these structures but not necessarily in this arena. Most often, these accreditation standards related to clinical ethics are managed by Healthcare Ethics Committees (HEC). Bioethics has become a growing field, the level of integration between this discipline and healthcare practice varies widely. Using qualitative methods based on Grounded Theory, this analysis presents six key thematic findings, as well as interpretations to identify current challenges and opportunities to make recommendations for improvement by enhancing clarity and reducing ambiguity.


Medical Sociology; End-of-life Decision Making; Healthcare Ethics Committees; Bioethics