GBMC respects patient and family dignity and self-determination. We acknowledge your right to fully participate in those decisions that affect your medical treatment. We respect your wishes and seek to understand and follow them as best as we can. Occasionally, faced with difficult decisions, you and your physicians are faced with difficult choices. For example, when is it time to cease efforts that seek to prolong life when cure is no longer possible and suffering seems great? In general, decisions are made through conversations with the patient, family, physicians and other caregivers. When the patient's wishes are unknown, the decisions become harder. Then decisions must be based on what the patients are believed to have wanted for themselves, and what is medically reasonable and recommended.
Most issues and dilemmas resolve over time in discussions with all the parties concerned. However, in the occasional case where there are lingering difficulties and conflicts, then the Ethics Committee may be contacted.
Ethics consultation is a service to facilitate discussion between patient, family, physicians, nurses or other involved persons faced with deep concerns or conflicts over patient care decisions. The ethics consultation is meant to help you or your family in making difficult choices. The Committee provides guidance and offers opinions and suggestions to resolve disputes regarding care, but it will be you, your family and your physician who will ultimately make the decisions.
The Committee consists of representatives from various clinical and administrative departments of the hospital, as well as members of the surrounding community. Nurses, physicians, a social worker, the chaplain, an attorney, an administrator, a layperson and a clergyperson from the community are currently members of the committee. Committee members have been trained in ethical decision-making and had many years of experience in dealing with such challenges and questions.
Ethical questions and concerns arise over time from clinical situations, and rarely present as emergencies. If you have a request, please call the Medical Staff Office during the business day on weekdays at 443-849-2373 and ask for Linda Randle. If you feel that you have an emergency and can not wait until Monday, you may call the hospital operator at 443-849-2000 to have Dr. Helen Gordon paged. You may also ask any member of your health care team to initiate the consultation process on your behalf.