Ethicists, researchers and representatives of multiple faiths will discuss the concepts of forgiveness after professional failure at a one-day forum at Griffith University on Wednesday, November 23.

Keynote speaker Professor Sidney Dekker from the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance said the forum would examine questions surrounding the role of forgiveness in a multicultural and largely secular society.

“Adverse events in professional settings such as healthcare, policing, child protection and industrial areas can bring on the kind of suffering that these systems are designed to prevent,” he said.

He cited recent examples including the Wivenhoe dam water releases that played a role in the Brisbane floods, and deaths in Queensland hospitals due to misdiagnosis, lack of staff and beds.

“A hunt for scapegoats in the wake of failure often hides the deeper systemic problems that give rise to the problems in the first place, yet seems to offer individuals and society a way to redress the problem.

“But victims are routinely under-compensated and an adversarial aftermath tends to make everybody a loser and nobody a recipient of justice.”

Other speakers include Dr Nancy Berlinger, Deputy Director of the Hastings Centre, an independent, non-profit bioethics research institute in New York and Professor Stewart Dunn from the Sydney Medical School.

Dr Berlinger’s research and teaching focus is the on the ethical issues in the organisation and delivery of health care including cancer care: palliative care; end-of-life care; patient safety; and ethics education for health care professionals.

Dr Dunn is Professor of Psychological Medicine in Sydney Medical School and Visiting Medical Psychologist at the Mater Hospital. His clinical specialty is psychological care of cancer patients and their families. He has published widely in psychological aspects of medical illness and doctor-patient communication.

The Failure and Forgiveness Forum will be held at the Multi-Faith Centre, Nathan campus this Wednesday, November 23 from 9am-4pm.