For Patients and Families
The Ethics Center at Cincinnati Children’s is dedicated to collaborating with patients and families. There are currently three family representatives on the Ethics Committee. Patients and families may also request ethics consultations. This service may be helpful to you if you are uncertain about what is the ethically right thing to do or if there is disagreement about what is ethically right. Patients and families might, for example, have questions about whether it is appropriate to consider an order not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or discontinue medically provided nutrition or hydration.
“Particularly in an institution like Cincinnati Children’s, where so many of the children have rare and complex conditions, there are ethical considerations in many of the decisions doctors and families must make,” says Ethics Center director Armand Antommaria, MD, PhD. He points to left ventricular assist devices and bio repositories as just two areas where rapid advances have raised important ethical questions.
Ethics team members hope to help with those decisions.
What to Expect
In the initial telephone conversation, a consultant will gather basic information about you and your concern. The consultant will also clarify the urgency of the consultation. The consultant may direct you to another resource if it is more appropriate. The consultant will review the medical record and meet with the involved parties to gather additional information.
Our method is not to tell parties what to do, but to help them think through the relevant ethical issues. We may convene a group meeting to facilitate communication among the parties and develop a mutually acceptable plan. We will provide an ethical analysis of the dilemma or conflict and provide follow-up as appropriate.