The mission of Mercy is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus by improving the health of our communities, with emphasis on people who are poor and underserved. Our services reflect our commitment to excellence, compassion for others, and reverence for all life. We respect the dignity of all persons, and act with integrity, honesty and truthfulness.
Patients and families sometimes face difficult healthcare decisions. The Mercy Ethics Committees are available to help at these times.
The Role of Ethics Committees
Mercy's Ethics Committees help patients, families and healthcare professionals with the moral aspects of healthcare. The Committees also offer ethics consultation on request.
Why ask for Ethics Consultation?
People ask for many different reasons. A young family may be struggling with decisions for a newborn who has health problems. An adult patient might have questions about medically supplied nutrition and hydration (tube feeding). In another situation, decisions about ventilator support (breathing machine) or dialysis might be needed. No matter what the question, Ethics Consultation is always confidential and sensitive to those involved.
The Ethics Committee Representative will:
- Talk with the patient, family and care providers to understand their concerns
- Review the patient's medical information
- Ask questions about patient and family wishes, values and goals
- Help those involved to find out information and understand their choices
- Treat all those involved with courtesy, respect and compassion
Questions to Help with Decisions
Patients, their family members and the medical team need to work together to make the best choices for the patient. You and the doctor may talk about:
For assistance or more information, please ask your nurse to contact the Ethics Committee or the Chaplain.
- The patient's condition - Is it improving, staying the same, getting worse?
- Understanding what may happen if a treatment is not given or is stopped. What will be done to help with any pain or discomfort the patient might have?
- The patient's own wishes. Did the patient fill out an Advance Directive? If not, did the patient ever talk with you about wishes for healthcare treatment?
- The goals of medical treatments. Might they cure the patient's problem, keep it under control, or help with pain and discomfort?
- Possible side effects or risks. How do the risks compare to the possible benefits?
- Time need to see if the treatments help. How much time might be needed.
- If the patient's wishes are not known, try to make choices based on what will be best for the patient.