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Medical Ethics Consultations

Medical Ethics Consultations

Medical Ethics Consultations

St. Mary's Medical Ethics Committee has developed a Medical Ethics Consultation process that benefits patients, families, medical staff, nursing staff and the interdisciplinary team. This process is described in Hospital Policy 100556.

Medical Ethics Consultations will take place following the procedures outlined in this policy with a "Chaplain Facilitator" as the front line resource person.

The Chaplain Facilitator will work closely with the "Community of Concern." The Community of Concern includes, but is not limited to:

  • Patients
  • Families
  • Significant others
  • Medical staff
  • Nursing staff
  • Healthcare advocates
  • Interdisciplinary teams
  • Chaplains
  • Social services
  • Clergy

A Medical Ethics Consultation occurs when any member of the Community of Concern questions whether an ethical dilemma has occurred.

Hospital Policy 100556 states that, "An ethical dilemma arises when there is tension between loyalties, responsibilities, duties, rights or values, all of which are good in themselves, but all of which cannot be satisfied in a particular healthcare situation. In this event, issues arise for which there may be no discernible or 'right' answer."

When a Medical Ethics Consultation is initiated, the Director of Pastoral Care (or designee) will assign a case number and a "Chaplain Facilitator." The Chaplain Facilitator's role is to identify key stakeholders, clarify facts and be a resource regarding advanced directives and the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, fifth edition. The Chaplain Facilitator will also coordinate communication between the Community of Concern and the Ethics Consultation Sub- committee, whose chair is a physician. The goal is to resolve ethical dilemmas as close to the Community of Concern as possible.  When this is not possible, the Chaplain Facilitator will introduce a process in place that provides additional resources for accomplishing resolution to ethical dilemmas.

Questions and/or comments may be addressed to the Director of Pastoral Care.

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