The Ethics of Breaking Bad News

Auto company and supplier red ink and job losses? Housing market in steep decline? Rising college tuition costs and student debt overload? During the past year, bad news has taken over. Yet, we know that getting and giving bad news is part of living. And we know that some professionals are "professionals" in the breaking of bad news. As much as anyone, the professional bad news bearers know that what they are doing has serious ethical consequences.

A2ethics.org decided to convene a few local professionals to talk about some of the ethical issues they consider in delivering and in receiving bad news. Our panel included: a business CEO, a coach, a doctor and a journalist. What makes this podcast different is that most of the time professionals talk to others in the same field about ethical dilemmas: doctors talk to other doctors and so on. We wanted to encourage cross-training and cross-professional ethics talk, so that we could look at similarities as well as differences in the breaking of bad news.

We also felt very honored to have such a distinguished panel: Jesse Bernstein, President and CEO of the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce, Kate Linebaugh, University of Michigan Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow and "Wall Street Journal" reporter, Mark Randolph, Ann Arbor Greenhills School grade principal/teacher and coach of the girl's tennis team, and James F, Pegg, MD, Assistant Dean of Student Programs at the University of Michigan. This panel was amiably moderated by David Shalowitz, a third year medical student and member of the Bioethics program at the University of Michigan, and a founding advisory board member of a2ethics.org.

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