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Ethics Committee

New York Methodist Hospital has an interdisciplinary Bioethics Committee that considers all ethics issues arising in the care of patients at New York Methodist Hospital. The members of the Bioethics Committee include physicians, nurses, administrators, social workers, trustees, chaplains, community representatives and, when necessary, an ethicist. The Committee has three principal functions:

  • Education - The Committee develops programs to educate health care providers and patients concerning ethics issues arising in patient care.
  • Policy Recommendations - The Committee reviews, discusses and recommends necessary changes to existing policy and, where indicated, initiates, discusses and drafts new policy recommendations concerning ethics issues arising in patient care.
  • Case Consultation - The Committee acts in an advisory capacity to identify ethics/legal issues, establishing the ethics/legal framework of case discussions, facilitating communication among interested parties and providing the forum for mediating disputes including, but not limited to, Do Not Resuscitate Orders and Health Care Proxies.

Case consultations often revolve around specific patient situations, often involving difficult ethical and/or legal decisions that are referred to the Committee for discussion and/or mediation among interested parties. Patients, family members or health care agents, physicians or any employee of New York Methodist Hospital directly involved in a patient's health care may request a case consultation.

Examples of topics covered in these kinds of consultations include:

  • Identifying the appropriate decision maker for a patient who cannot make and/or communicate his or her wishes.
  • Resolving treatment dilemmas when there is a conflict between the physician's suggested treatment plan and the patient's religious or cultural beliefs.
  • Determining whether a treatment plan is less than optimal because of insurance restrictions and exploring options.
  • Mediating differences of opinion concerning treatment among family members Discussing the benefits and burdens of refusal of treatment for an incapacitated patient.
  • Considering withholding or withdrawing of life-sustaining treatments, such as ventilators or feeding tubes.

The consultation process provides assistance in discussing the ethical implications surrounding the patient's care and will offer guidance and support to the individuals involved. Consultations are confidential. The members of the Bioethics Committee who participate in the case consultation will attempt to clarify the issues raised and may make recommendations. However, final decisions still rest with the patient and/or family members.

To request a case consultation, call 718 780-3375.