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  • Some Medical Situations Require Ethical Decisions

  • Advances in medical technology and treatment can create difficult decision-making situations for patients, their families and caregivers.

    The Rhode Island Hospital Ethics Committee can provide guidance to individuals faced with complex decisions, such as continuing life-sustaining treatment or interpreting a living will. In these situations, the ethical implications (the "rightness" or "wrongness") of choosing certain treatments may need to be examined. If you are unable to take part in the decision-making process, your family or caregiver may find it extremely difficult to make these decisions on your behalf.

    There are a number of knowledgeable and caring hospital staff members with whom you, your family or your caregiver can talk to sort out the ethical questions in these situations. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff such as clinical social workers and chaplains are always available to discuss your concerns and questions. If, after much thought and discussion, you are unable to make a decision, our ethics committee is here to listen to you and provide additional support and direction.

    We Are Here to Help You

    In such cases, the ethics committee is available to consult with you, your family, your agent or authorized representative, or your doctor.

    The Rhode Island 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, chaplains, 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.

     Ethics and Patient Rights