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Ethics Seminar at Wheeling Hospital To Address Communicating Honestly, Compassionately

August 7, 2017

WHEELING, W.Va. – Ethical issues related to truth telling, trust building and disclosure will be discussed at a seminar scheduled at Wheeling Hospital.

“The Truth Hurts: Learning to Communicate Both Honestly and with Compassion” will be held Sept. 30 in the hospital auditorium. The half-day seminar will offer 4 hours of continuing education credits for physicians, nurses, social workers, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and chaplains.

Participants will discuss:
• The obligations of truth telling within the frameworks of informed consent and patients’ right-to-know/not-know information.
• The unique challenges of disclosing genetic findings.
• The importance of verbal and nonverbal communication.
• Fundamental ethical principles in the treatment relationship as they relate to truth telling and honesty.
• Conflicts among ethical principles as they relate to honesty.
• Resolutions and how to minimize damage to the offended ethical principle.

Dr. E. Phillips Polack, chair of the Wheeling Hospital Committee on Ethics, will open the event and discuss “Understanding Human Communication.”

"There are a variety of reasons why both clinicians and patients periodically feel uncomfortable disclosing the truth," Polack said. "The seminar will consider factors that influence decision making with regard to the disclosure of health information, discuss how to overcome barriers to open and honest clinician/patient communication, and reflect upon how truth telling and trust building support good clinical care."


The keynote speaker will be John Rief, PhD, assistant professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Duquesne University, whose topic will be “Forget Persuasion: Trust, Difference and the Clinical Encounter.”

Other topics and speakers include:
• “Are Patients Afraid to Tell the Truth?” – Valerie Satkoske, PhD, bioethicist and director of Ethics at Wheeling Hospital
• “Cultural Conceptions of the Truth” – Dr. David Kappel, clinical professor of surgery at WVU School of Medicine
• “The Right to Know/Not Know, Truth Telling and Information Sharing in Genetics – Lisa Parker, PhD, professor of Human Genetics, director, Center for Bioethics and Health Law, master of arts program in Bioethics – University of Pittsburgh
• “HIPAA and Truth Telling” – Bruce Archer, JD, Wheeling Hospital vice president and Corporate Compliance officer
• “Is It Ever OK to Withhold the Truth?” – John McFadden, PsyD, clinical psychologist at Wheeling Hospital

Fee for the program is $20, and includes breakfast and lunch. The seminar begins at 7:30 a.m. and wraps up at 1:05 p.m. Seating is limited and registration deadline is Sept. 15.

For more information, call Deborah Watson at 304-243-3883.

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Contact: Gregg Warren, Vice President-Marketing and Public Relations, 304-243-3260
Wheeling Hospital

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