Morality and Ethics
Morality refers to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by rational persons. People have strong beliefs about what is right and wrong behavior: the degree to which something is right and good or the badness of something.
Ethics addresses the questions of morality and studies the principles of right and wrong.
Our Mission Statement
To provide ethical recommendations, guidelines and policies for our clinical staff, all students and our patients and their families.
To educate all of our students, inclusive of the public, about ethical care and caring.
To perform research that will contribute to the delivery of improved health care especially for the chronically ill and patients at the end of life.
Who are the Members of the Medical Ethics Committee?
Our members come from all major divisions of health care (medical and non-medical fields) within the hospital and community. These professionals serve with a diverse group of clergy, attorneys and patient advocates.
List of the current members of the Medical Ethics Committee
When is an Ethics Consult appropriate?
An Ethics Consult is appropriate whenever a medical issue is seriously questioned, if there is disagreement within healthcare team or if the patient / family disagree with the healthcare team, or if a treatment plan is in conflict with cultural or spiritual beliefs. A consult with the Ethics Committee can be obtained by anyone including the healthcare staff, patient or family. Other examples for an ethics consultation include: uncertainty as to who can make health care decisions, disagreement on whether starting, continuing or ending treatment such as breathing tubes or feeding tubes, moral distress about a healthcare decision or a complex medical situation that raises ethical concerns.
How do I request an Ethics Consult?
An Ethics Consult can be obtained by calling 706-721-7475. The call will be answered by legal counsel who will decide if the consult request is legal in nature or ethical. If it is determined to be an ethical issue or dilemma, the committee will convene usually the same day (generally within 3 hours). You will need to give your name, and a number where you can be reached and a brief account of the issue you would like to discuss. If you would like your name withheld as the person asking for the consult (that is, keeping your name confidential and not shared with the healthcare team and patient during the consultation), that may be possible. Please let us know when you make your request.
What happens when a request is made?
When a consult is requested, a coordinating member of the committee with gather basic information regarding the request and arrange the meeting which is usually the same day. We notify the attending physician, members of the healthcare delivery team including nursing, and members of the ethics consult service to participate in the consult meeting. The chairman or designee will offer recommendations relevant to the ethical issues identified.
The ethics consultation is advisory only. Final decisions are made by the patient, family and the healthcare team. A member of the ethics committee will follow up to see if clarification or further help is needed before closing the consult.