The need for a medical ethics consult may arise when moral values held by a patient, the patient’s family, or the patient’s healthcare providers care are in conflict regarding the provision of medical care.
The role of the Ethics Resource Committee at National Jewish Health is to assist in analyzing such conflicts, in order to make recommendations.
Review the National Jewish Health policy: Ethics: Patient Care and Institutional.
Privacy and Confidentiality
Because an ethics consult requires collecting information about the medical situation, individuals requesting a consult must have permission to access a patient’s protected health information as defined under the Privacy Act. The information collected by the Ethics Resource Committee will be safeguarded, and the patient’s identity will be kept confidential.
Requesting the Consult
The short survey that follows will ask for your name and contact information. You will be asked to describe the ethical issue. No identifying information of the patient will be required at this step.
A Committee member will be notified of your request, and will contact you within 48 hours, Monday-Friday. If you submit the request on Friday, the time interval could be as long as 72 hours, until the following Monday. Our Committee is a voluntary service, and we are not able to provide callbacks over the weekend.
Decision to Accept the Consultation
Conflicts in medical care are not always due to an ethical issue. For example, the issue may need to be addressed by the patient advocacy and grievance office, or by Human Resources. The Committee reserves the right to re-direct the consult if committee members decide the conflict is not an ethics issue.
Once the consult is accepted, Committee members will collect all necessary information from the patient, family, and healthcare team. This is a fully transparent process to all involved. The analysis and recommendations will be communicated as soon as possible, and documented in the medical chart. Final decisions and actions fall to the patient, family, and medical team.