Health Ethics

Newton Medical Center is committed to maintaining the highest level of ethics. We have established a Health Ethics Consultation Service and Medical Ethics Committee in our quest to provide high-quality, ethical care to our community.

Newton Medical Center has a panel of multidisciplinary health care professionals who are specially trained in applying standard ethical principles. The committee is composed of physicians, nurses, clergy, medical services managers, administrators, social workers, and representatives from other disciplines such as legal, palliative care, and residential care. The committee’s service is advisory in nature. They do not make decisions for you; rather, they offer recommendations to those who do have decision-making responsibility.

Health Ethics Consultations

Newton Medical Center’s Health Ethics Consultation Service is available to help patients, providers, and/or related parties recognize and resolve moral and ethical dilemmas in the healthcare setting. The function of this service is to consider and assist in resolving issues that affect the care and treatment of patients within Newton Medical Center by:

  • listening to your concerns.
  • discussing differing opinions in a mutually respectful dialogue.
  • helping identify the relevant values and the conflicts around those values.
  • exploring the options available to the patient, patient’s family, and the physician.

An ethics consultation can help in many ways. For example, a consult:

  • offers support to those involved in decision-making.
  • keeps the patient’s best interest at heart at all times.
  • maintains a deep respect for patient confidentiality.
  • invites all input by acknowledging rights of others to have different opinions and different values.
  • strives to achieve a consensus which will permit resolution of the conflict.

Requesting a Consultation

A consultation can be requested by patients, family members, nursing staff, doctors, pastors, social workers, and/or others. This service is available at any time assistance is needed concerning an ethical health-based dilemma. Consults usually take place within 24 hours of the request.

  • You may make your request known to any hospital care provider, such as a nurse, physician, hospital chaplain, case manager, or social worker.
  • This care provider will notify one of our consulting team members.
  • You may also access a consultant directly by calling the hospital’s page operator at (316) 283-2700 and ask the operator to page the chaplain who is a member of the ethics committee.
  • The consultant will meet with you to talk about the different issues involved in your situation.
  • The consultant will assist and support you through the process.
  • Resolutions of ethical concerns and relaxations of moral distress are often reached after working with an individual consultant, a team of consultants, or with a full committee consultation.
  • The responses provided in an ethical consultation are advisory. The primary decision-makers remain the patient, the physician, and the family.
  • All discussion shared is confidential. Only information which pertains to the patient’s care and the committee’s suggestions are provided in electronic form in the patient’s medical record.

Medical Ethics Committee

The medical ethics committee was created to assist the hospital’s staff, physicians, patients, and families in applying moral principles to health care decisions and policies. The accomplishment of these applications will assist all providers and families in delivering the most comprehensive and compassionate medical care possible to the patients of the hospital.

The ethics committee functions in four primary areas:

Forum – a place and opportunity for individuals within the institution to express a broad range of concerns, questions, and dilemmas about medical ethical issues.

  • Education – self-educated in order to develop or assist others in developing lectures, seminars, workshops, rounds, in service programs, and other educational endeavors in the areas of medical ethics.
  • Policy Review and Development – when asked, the committee will assist the hospital in the review and development of policies and guidelines regarding medical ethical issues, questions or problems which arise in the care of patients.
  • Case Review (Consultation/Discussion) – provide consultation to health care providers, patients, and members of the patient’s family regarding complex ethical issues involving care of patients.

The committee meets quarterly for education and discussion of patient care issues in general. Discussions also focus on real concerns in the hospital setting through case review. The goal of the committee is to help improve patient outcomes by respecting each patient’s rights and conducting all relationships with the patient and the public in an ethical manner. It is imperative therefore the committee stay abreast of the ethical concerns surrounding current issues in healthcare.

Additionally, the committee will convene upon notice of an emergent request for a full committee consultation. The Code of Medical Ethics of the American Hospital Association guides the committee in making recommendations to assist and resolve complicated ethical problems involving the care of the patient who has an unusual set of circumstances.

The committee welcomes questions or requests for informal discussion of clinical ethics at any time. A roster of current members can be obtained by emailing Janine.Arnold@www.newtonmed.com or calling (316) 804-6022.

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