In Response to "Whistleblowing in Speech-Language Pathology" Pannbacker (1998)  makes a strong argument that speech-language pathologists have a duty to resolve the ethical dilemmas we face in clinical practice. Pannbacker describes the imperative for professionals who witness unethical or harmful behavior by fellow professionals to take action by notifying the proper authorities after attempting to prevent ... Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor  |   February 01, 2000
In Response to "Whistleblowing in Speech-Language Pathology"
 
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Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Professional Issues & Training / Letters to the Editor
Letter to the Editor   |   February 01, 2000
In Response to "Whistleblowing in Speech-Language Pathology"
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 2000, Vol. 9, 93-94. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0901.93
History: Received August 10, 1999 , Accepted December 22, 1999
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 2000, Vol. 9, 93-94. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0901.93
History: Received August 10, 1999; Accepted December 22, 1999
Pannbacker (1998)  makes a strong argument that speech-language pathologists have a duty to resolve the ethical dilemmas we face in clinical practice. Pannbacker describes the imperative for professionals who witness unethical or harmful behavior by fellow professionals to take action by notifying the proper authorities after attempting to prevent the situation. However, we suggest that her focus on when, why, and how to “whistleblow” overshadows Pannbacker’s suggestion that whistleblowing should be a last resort and that there are many other preferred methods of dealing with moral conflict in clinical and professional settings.
The clinical ethics survey conducted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA’s) Council on Professional Ethics (COPE) in 1996 (Buie, 1997)1  indicates that the most common ethical challenges faced by speech-language pathologists and audiologists are the dilemmas of clinical practice and not the unethical behavior of other professionals. Seventy-one percent of the clinicians surveyed reported situations in which they disagree with clients or families about clinical decisions and 68% of respondents reported difficult decisions about who to treat or how to prioritize among patients/clients when not all of them can be served. This is in contrast to the less commonly reported concern about the unethical actions of other professionals (46%).
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