Clinical ethics involves the identification, analysis and resolution of ethical issues that arise in the care of individual patients. Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) provides and supports several endeavors in clinical ethics under the supervision of the Vice President for Mission and Culture.
The Ethics Committee is a multidisciplinary standing committee of the LLUMC medical staff. Its members, appointed by the president of the medical staff, include physicians, nurses, ethicists, therapists, social workers, chaplains, administrators and a community representative who is an attorney. The committee is chaired by a member of the LLUMC active medical staff. The committee meets regularly to:
- Review and initiate LLUMC policies that address ethical issues.
- Review ethics consultations that have been provided by the LLUMC Clinical Ethics Consultation Service.
- Consider topics that deserve educational efforts in various venues.
Clinical Ethics Consultation Services
LLUMC offers consultation to assist patients, families and professionals on matters with ethical implications. Consultations are provided by trained and experienced clinical ethicists and may be requested by anyone involved in the care of a particular patient. Issues that often lead to ethics consultation include:
- Decision-making for a patient without family.
- Decisions about limitation of treatments.
- Interpretation of written advance directives (Durable Powers of Attorney for Healthcare, Living Wills).
- Instances when it is not clear if the patient has capacity to make his or her own treatment decisions.
- Management of infants born with life-threatening anomalies.
- Resolution of conflict about treatment decisions.
- And many other issues.
Access to clinical ethics consultation is through the LLUMC page operator (909-558-4000) or by asking any member of the patient’s care-team (doctor, nurse, social worker, chaplain or therapist) to request an ethics consultation.