Sometimes making the right decision in the face of serious illness can be complicated. When there’s uncertainty or disagreement, the Ethics Committee can help.
The Ethics Committee is a group of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center staff (physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and others) and members of the community who are available to help patients, families, doctors and other healthcare providers when they face difficult ethical decisions.
The Ethics Committee meets free of charge to provide a safe, supportive, confidential forum in which you and others can think through a problem, consider different points of view and sort through options. Every attempt is made to involve key members of the healthcare team as well as the patient and family, as appropriate, in the process. After discussing the ethical issues at stake, the Ethics Committee offers advice in the form of a non-binding recommendation. It is then up to those involved to decide what to do next.
Before you contact the Ethics Committee, it’s recommended that you first speak with those involved in your healthcare situation, and that you use all available resources in the hospital to try to resolve the problem. Oftentimes, meeting with the patient, family members, physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, patient representative and other members of the hospital staff can help those involved come to agreement. If what should be done is still unclear, you may contact the Ethics Committee at your campus location.