An ethical dilemma arises when there is tension between loyalties, rights, duties, or values – all good in themselves, but not always possible to satisfy. Sometimes the value of preserving life conflicts with other values, such as respecting a patient’s wishes, relieving suffering, staying financially solvent, and assuring equal access to healthcare.
These and other questions require that medical, ethical, legal and interpersonal factors be considered. The complexity of these issues often necessitates a collaborative approach.
The Ethics Advisory Group (EAG) was formed to aid in conflict resolution and help patients, families, physicians, and other healthcare providers make decisions when ethical dilemmas arise. Education of the Meriter community and beyond is another goal of the EAG. The EAG sponsors an ethics conference each fall.
Requesting an Ethics Consult
On weekdays, you may contact the Office of Continuing Professional Development at 417.6538
During weekends or nights, contact the NAC at beeper 129-0151.
Contact the Office of Continuing Professional Development at 417-6538 to request copies of the following:
• A Process for Resolving Ethical Dilemmas
• Guidelines Regarding Decisions to Withhold, Use or Withdraw Life-Sustaining Treatment
• List of Annual Ethics Conference Recordings
• The EAG membership is broad based, including physicians, nurses, attorneys, social workers, clergy and community members.
• The EAG’s decisions are advisory, not binding.
• The EAG is available to all patients, their families, the Meriter Medical Staff, and other members of the patient’s care team.
• The EAG is a member of the Medical Ethics Committee Network (MECN) at the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities.
Useful Documents and Links
The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Geriatric Education Teams (GETs) authored and published Geriatrics Fast Facts as a resource for clinicians. Topics on the site include Assessing Delirium, Diagnosing Dementia in Acutely Ill Elderly Patients, and Assessment of Fall Risk Etiology.