Ethics Committee

Sometimes patients, families and staff have very difficult choices and ethical questions they need to talk about. Discussions with the Ethics Committee can be helpful and reassuring when a difficult choice must be made (for example, questions on end-of-life care, allocating scarce resources or confidentiality). The Ethics Committee is here to help when facing these choices and questions.

What is the Ethics Committee?

The University of Michigan Hospital and Health Centers Ethics Committee advisory groups are appointed by the Hospital's Office of Clinical Affairs. They review ethical or moral questions that may come up during an adult patient's care. Committee members include doctors, nurses, and social workers as well as a lawyer, a chaplain, a medical ethics professional, and a member of the community. They are available to meet with patients and families, doctors, nurses, and other members of the health care team when difficult decisions need to be made. The committee's goal is to help everyone decide the right thing to do. (There is a similar committee for pediatric care at the University of Michigan Mott Hospital, called the Pediatric Ethics Committee )

Why does the medical center have an Ethics Committee?

The Ethics Committee gives advice on moral questions in clinical care, educates clinical staff and the public on issues in medical ethics, and develops policies related to patient care.

What happens when a meeting with the Ethics Committee is requested?

Any health care team member, patient, or patient family member may request a consultation.

The patient's medical situation and treatment options are reviewed. In addition, concerns and feelings of the patient, family members, and the health care team are reviewed. Members of the committee may meet with patients, families and medical personnel to discuss these concerns.

Ethics Committee members discuss the information which has been gathered.

The Ethics Committee makes suggestions about the best course of action. Often there are a number of options available in the course of a patient's care. Final decisions are made by the patient, family and the health care team.

Request a Consult

What should I do if I want to meet with the Ethics Committee?

If you are an inpatient and have a problem you would like to discuss with an Ethics Consultant or with the Ethics Committee, you may do one of the following:

1. Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Call 734-615-1379, and ask for the Adult Ethics individual on-call to be paged

2. After normal business hours, please call 734-936-6267 and ask for the Adult Ethics individual on-call to be paged.