The University of Missouri Health Care Ethics Consult Service is staffed by Ethics Committee members with specific training in the area of ethics who are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide quick consultations to patients, their families, surrogates or health care providers who need assistance in difficult decision making.
When to call the Ethics Consult Service
Questions such as, "What is the right thing to do?" are very real in these times of increasingly "high-tech" medical care. Dilemmas and conflicts may arise when a patient, family member, health care professional or the hospital has different ideas about values, responsibilities and loyalties.
The Consultation Process
Following a request for consultation, a representative of the Ethics Consult Service will communicate with the individual requesting assistance. If further discussion is needed, a meeting will be scheduled to include the patient and/or their family or representative(s), the health care provider(s) involved in the case and other members of the health care team.
During this private meeting open and honest discussion will be encouraged about the clinical circumstances and the ethical concerns, and an attempt will be made to resolve conflict. The ethics consultant will assist by facilitating the discussion, helping to outline the ethical issues, and may offer suggestions as to what actions may be reasonable. However final decisions are to be made by the patient and his or her representative(s) in conjunction with the patient’s physician and other members of the health care team.
Making Informed Decisions
University Health Care believes in the rights of patients to make informed treatment decisions and provides a caring environment to support an informed choice.
To discuss any questions or concerns with an Ethics Consultant, ask your doctor, nurse, social worker or chaplain to contact the hospital switchboard at 573-882-4141 and ask for the ethics consultant on call to be paged.
This is a volunteer service. There is no charge for this consultation.