Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are examples of ethical dilemmas that the Office of Ethics can help with?

    o You and your doctor disagree about what should be done for your child.

    o You and your child disagree about the treatment being offered or recommended.

    o The treatment being recommended conflicts with your personal, religious or spiritual beliefs.

    o Your child is over 18 years old and you are concerned about his or her ability to make decisions.

    o Your child is over 18 years old and is making decisions that you disagree with.

    o You are concerned that your child is being treated differently than others with respect to the care being
        offered or provided.

    o You are uncertain about how much medical and/or prognostic information should be shared with your child.

What should I do if I'm not certain if there is an ethical dilemma?

If you suspect that you have an ethical issue or dilemma and are in need of assistance, the ethicist on call can help in determining whether the Office of Ethics can assist in thinking through or resolving the issue that you are facing. To the extent that the issue is not an ethical dilemma, the ethicist may be able to provide guidance as to who you might speak with for support.

What are the advantages of consulting the Office of Ethics?

Though it can be difficult to bring an outsider's input into a complex case, sometimes a more objective viewpoint helps to clarify the issues and increase communication among the involved parties.  The ethical implications of various alternatives are explored, which can be informative and validating to those facing morally distressing choices. Since staff clinical ethicists and EAC members have continuing education in biomedical ethics, and are familiar with the kinds of cases that raise ethical issues, they can be efficient and effective at exploring medically and morally complex cases and offering ideas for dealing with them.