Each Lifespan hospital has an Ethics Committee. The ethics committee is available to:
It is important to understand that, although the committee will offer guidance, members will not make decisions for you or tell your doctor how to proceed.
Many ethical issues can best be discussed when only one person speaks with the committee. In some situations, several people may need to be included in order to gather the appropriate information about an issue. In other situations, it may be best for a single committee member to meet with a patient or family member to discuss a concern.
In such cases, the Ethics Committee is available to consult with you, your family, your agent or authorized representative, or your doctor.
Your hospital Ethics Committee is a group of community and hospital professionals who provide consultation and advice regarding the ethical aspects of a patient's care. There is no charge for meeting with the Ethics Committee.
The committee of professionals from various fields includes doctors, nurses, clergy, an ethicist, a lawyer, a community representative, a social worker, a hospital trustee and a senior administrator. Committee members have training in medical ethics and also have experience in helping patients, their families and their doctors with difficult questions that may arise during a patient's treatment.
You may benefit from the help of the Ethics Committee if after working with your doctor or other caregivers to sort out the ethical concerns, you are still unsure if you are making the "right" decision. The committee is available to consult with you, your family, your specified health care agent or authorized representative and your doctor.
The Ethics Committee has helped patients, their families and their doctors with decisions on stopping treatment, caring for mentally incompetent patients and interpreting living wills.
All consultations with the Ethics Committee are confidential; however suggestions offered by the committee may be incorporated into your medical record.