Ethics and Patient Rights

Making Difficult Decisions

Advances in medical technology and treatment can create difficult decision making situations for patients, their families and caregivers. Your hospital Ethics Committee can provide guidance to individuals faced with complex decisions, such as continuing life-sustaining treatment or interpreting a living will.

In these situations, the ethical implications (the "rightness" or "wrongness") of choosing certain treatments may need to be examined. If you are unable to take part in the decision making process, your family or caregiver may find it extremely difficult to make these decisions on your behalf.

There are a number of knowledgeable and caring hospital staff members you, your family or caregiver can talk with to sort out the ethical questions in these situations. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff members, such as social workers, are always available to discuss your concerns and questions. If, after much thought and discussion, you are unable to make a decision the ethics committee is available to listen to you and provide additional support and direction.

The hospital Ethics Committee offers guidance and support to patients, families and caregivers in difficult decision making situations.