Upstart new fields with special bodies of knowledge and special clinical competence exist only so long as fringe groups. Successful new fields are recognized by patients, payers, and professional organizations, and soon fringe groups begin to look like other fields of medicine. Ethics consultation requests, for example, come by car phone, through the answering service, and in the parking lot. Ethics consultation has a Society for Bioethics Consultation (c 1987), The Journal of Clinical Ethics (c 1990), and now, finally, a book.
Ethics Consultation in Health Care is a collection of essays based on presentations given at a 1985 National Institutes of Health—University of California at San Francisco conference of institutionally designated ethics consultants. The book's editors are eminent and thoughtful, and have struggled to right the problems inherent in symposia by inviting several new essays, one of which they write themselves. There are 11 chapters of 167 pages; an