Typology and Functioning of Health Ethics Discussion Forums in France

  • Côme Bommier Commission éthique, Société Française d’Hématologie; Service d’hémato-oncologie Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital Saint-Louis; Faculté de médecine, Université Paris Cité, Paris, France https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5695-911X
  • Laura Simon Commission éthique, Société Française d’Hématologie, Paris; Service d’Hématologie Clinique et Thérapie Cellulaire, CHU Amiens Picardie, Amiens, France
Keywords: ethics, committee, commission, discussion, qualitative research, France
Language(s): French


Introduction: Medical ethics raises the question of the meaning of medical practices in light of the humanities. In France, the spaces for ethical discussion (SED) are multiple and heterogeneous. The objective of this study was to investigate the typology and functioning of SEDs in the health field. Methods: Twenty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of eleven different SEDs in France. The data were analyzed according to the basic steps of qualitative research: coding, categorization, linking and presentation of results. Results: The five categories of SEDs (National Consultative Ethics Committee, Regional Ethical Reflection Spaces, Ethics Commissions of Medical Learned Societies, Research Institute Ethics Committees, Hospital Ethics Committees) all differ in their links with institutions, their composition, their choice of themes discussed and the presentation of their work. However, they all agree on the following points: the importance of multi-disciplinarity, the frequency of working meetings, the sense of ethical commitment, the absence of professional recognition, the difficulty of valorizing work and the lack of recognition by peers. The respondents regret that there is insufficient coordination between the different SEDs, although their work may be complementary. Conclusion: Opening up the SEDs and encouraging their articulation, without distancing them from the practice of care, could promote the visibility of their ethical approach in the daily lives of caregivers. Finally, if ethical reflection is encouraged by the scientific community as a whole, greater recognition is desired by professionals who participate in applied ethics research.

How to Cite
Bommier C, Simon L. Typology and Functioning of Health Ethics Discussion Forums in France. Can. J. Bioeth. 2023;6:20-35. https://doi.org/10.7202/1101125ar.