a1 Visiting Scholar, Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics, and Senior Consultant, Strategic Health Care Practice, Alexander & Alexander Consulting Group, San Francisco.
a2 Ethics Education Coordinator, National Center for Clinical Ethics, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire.
a3 Professor of Anesthesia and Medicine, Vice Chairman of the Department of Anesthesia, and Director of Critical Care Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.
a4 Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
The following description is based upon an actual case in which a patient initiated legal action after suffering a complication subsequent to an invasive diagnostic procedure performed by a senior fellow. Named as codefendants were the senior fellow, attending physician, and the hospital. Because any hospital with house staff is potentially vulnerable to similar litigation, Ethics Committees at Work is addressing the questions raised by this dilemma.