The Clinical Ethics Consultation Service is an integral component of patient care services for the UTMB Health System. Patients, their families, and health care practitioners sometimes face ethically difficult, confusing, or conflicting choices. When this happens, one may not be sure how to make the “best” or “right” choice. The CECS facilitates discussion, analysis and understanding of ethical issues in patient care, and provides ethically appropriate recommendations for solving problems arising in health care practice and research.
What is an Ethics Consultation?
Patients, their families, and health care practitioners sometimes face ethically difficult, confusing, or conflicting choices. An ethics consultation facilitates discussion, analysis, and understanding of these patient care issues. Consultants provide recommendations when conflicting individual, professional, social, and institutional values lead to ethical uncertainty. CECS exists to provide assistance in making these kinds of choices.
Examples when an ethics consult may be needed include when a family is unsure how to make decisions for the patient when the patient can no longer communicate his or her wishes; or when health care practitioners disagree about what’s in a patient’s best interest or quality of life assessments. Wondering whether or not to call the CECS about a particular situation may be a good prompt to contact us. We are happy to discuss any issue you may be facing and not every discussion needs to be a “formal” consultation. All conversations are confidential and provided at no cost to the patient or department.
Who May Request an Ethics Consultation?
The CECS is available to, and may be requested by, patients and their families, physicians, researchers, nurses, allied health professionals, and administrators.
When you call, the Ethics Consultant will…
- Promote a process of open, shared decision-making among the participants in the consultation
- Facilitate a discussion about the ethical concerns identified and possible responses to them
- Communicate the relevant conclusions and follow-up recommendations of the consultation to appropriate individuals