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Ethics Advisory Group

Ethics Advisory Group

Karuna Spiegelman, MD
EAG Co-Chair

Meg Parker, MD
EAG Co-Chair

Mary Henman, RN, MS, MA
EAG Vice-Chair
(608) 417-6115

Monica Messina
(608) 417-6538

General Information

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

  1. On weekdays, you may contact the Office of Continuing Professional Development at 417.6538
  2. Or, you may directly contact the EAG Co-Chair Dr. Karuna Spiegelman, EAG Co-Chair Dr. Meg Parker, or the Vice-Chair of the EAG Mary Henman, ICU Nurse Manager at (608) 417-6115 or, or by page through the hospital operator.
  3. During weekends or nights, contact the NAC at beeper 129-0151.


Contact the Office of Continuing Professional Development at (608) 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

Annual Ethics Grand Rounds and Conferences

Nov. 7, 2014: Meriter-UnityPoint Health's 24th Annual Ethics Conference

"Patient or Clinician: Who Calls the Shots? Moving Forward in an Age of Consumerism"

Videos funded by the Meriter Foundation

Keynote Speakers:
Jennifer Blumenthal-Barby, PhD
Assistant Professor, Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy,
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Watch Now 

Louis Butler, Jr.
Attorney, Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP, Milwaukee, WI
Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice
Watch Now 

May 16, 2014: "Debunking the Myths Around Capacity and Guardianship"

Video funded by a grant from the Meriter Foundation 

Watch Now

Martha Rolli, MD, psychiatrist;
Anne Hartwig, JD, PhD, attorney & Meriter-UnityPoint Health Ethics Advisory Group (EAG) Member;
Cate Campisi, APNP (adult psychiatry); Kathleen Ziemba, Social Work Manager & EAG Member

1) Differentiate how patients' lack of capacity or competency affects clinical practice;
2) Clarify when patients may be treated or detained against their wishes

[Note: NO AMA PRA Category 1TM credits will be awarded for the viewing this recording]

EAG Facts

• 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.