At Covenant Health, we believe that as advances in medicine help physicians restore health and prolong life even in the gravest of circumstances, it is more important than ever for health care organizations to be mindful of the ethical dilemmas that can arise during treatment. Many times, conflicts arise between loyalties, responsibilities, rights, duties or values, all of which are good in themselves but which cannot all be satisfied in a particular situation.
In situations where there is no “right” or “best” answer and there is no clear consensus on the right course of action, Covenant’s Bioethics Committee has developed a resolution process to help patients, their families and their medical team explore options and mutually decide on the most appropriate course of action. It dictates that in situations where an ethical dilemma arises:
- A “committee of concern” will be formed that includes patients or their surrogates, patients’ family members, the attending physician, nursing staff, chaplains, case managers and other members of the health care team directly involved with treatment.
- All information about the situation, including information about patients’ treatment history and condition, probable outcomes, patients’ personal desires and other issues will be reviewed by the entire team, and all points of view are solicited.
- The committee will determine who will be affected by the resolution of the dilemma and what foreseeable harms and benefits will result.
- The committee will consider all alternative courses of action in light of Covenant’s commitment to our core values—dignity, service, excellence and justice—and make a decision on which course of action to pursue.
- The committee will develop a plan for implementation, and all medical personnel will document the process. Verbal feedback will be solicited from all members of the committee, to be documented by the chaplain.
- The plan will be implemented.
In all situations, Covenant and our employees are committed to treating patients and their families with dignity and compassion. For more information about patients’ rights and responsibilities, please visit the patient rights section of this website.