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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, or issues of 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. The consultants facilitate communication among adult patients, their families and the treatment team to assist everyone in making appropriate choices 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?

UMHS encourages the importance of quality and a comprehensive approach in all aspects of a patient’s care. Therefore the Medical Staff Bylaws as well as government and accreditation standards, require such a committee.

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 individual requesting a consult should call 734.615.2765 during normal business hours. After hours and on holidays and weekends, the call number is 734.936.6267, and contact with the ethicist on call should be requested.

The consultants on call review the patient's medical situation and treatment options. In addition, concerns and feelings of the patient, family members, and the health care team are discussed. Members of the committee may visit 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.