Survey: Have you ever consulted with your facility's ethics committee about a patient

  1. Here are the results of last months survey question
    Have you ever consulted with your facility's ethics committee about a patient? :



    Please feel free to read and post any comments that you have right here in this discussion thread by clicking the "Post Reply" button.

    Thanks
    Last edit by brian on Jan 3, '03
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   Q.
    I haven't personally, but I've known of a situation here at our Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in which a child needed a life-saving treatment, such as a bone marrow transplant, and the parents couldn't agree. One consented and the other didn't. It went to the Ethics Committee then.
    Not sure of the outcome.
  4. by   Stargazer
    I answered "no," but I can think of at least one case where I should have.
  5. by   emily_mom
    No, but I know of other nurses in my dept that have. It had something to do with a newborn and conflicting decisions regarding tx.

    Kristy
  6. by   mamabear
    What ethics committee?
  7. by   renerian
    Yes I have for several patients in the home health arena. I also requested a meeting at the hospital where my mother was dying, a horrible death, to remove the life prolonging IVs and blood (she has 8 units PRBC, 12 Units FFP and many units RDPs. After a heated half hour discussion and the Dr. saying he would not call the Ethics committee on a Sunday, He did what we wanted. She died in less than 20 minutes.

    renerian
  8. by   live4today
    My response was....No, but, if I had to, I wouldn't hesitate to do so.
  9. by   jemb
    Yes, at my former place of employment. I knew one of our patients from the oncology floor where I worked. One evening I was floated to another floor and found this gentleman rapidly deteriorating after being admitted several days prior. He recognized me, and said that he thought he was going to die soon and reminded me that he did not "anything heroic done when I quit breathing". He had been DNR on the oncology floor, but his chart indicated that he had been made a full code with this admission. I called his doc, who informed me, "I don't make any of my patients DNR until after they code the first time!" So I went to the ethics committee. It took two days to get the DNR on his chart, and -no exagerration here- the man died within an hour of his DNR status becoming official.
  10. by   canoehead
    I have, and the ethics committee spent about an hour, it was a great discussion, but the doc just nodded, and then went off and wrote the same orders he'd planned on to begin with.
  11. by   sjsap
    When I worked at a large Boston area hospital, I served on the first patient ethics committee at the institution which was started back in the 80s. Back then it was mainly nurses on the committee, but it was started by the CEO- an MD who took interest because of the complexity of our usual patients who had multi-system disease. I found it to be a very helpful experience, because it gave me support with the cases in which I questioned "what are we doing here" or "why????"
    I got a lot out of it because I was able to talk with other health professionals (the latest version of the ethics committee was chaired by a very thoughtful and approachable MD)about the tough issues, how to handle what is happening at present, or how to deal with a situation that was uncomfortable for all. The ethical dilemmas we all face are a little easier if you can discuss them openly. I now utilize the experience and information in my current practice of homecare- issues of quality of life, benficence, autonomy, etc. all play a large role in home care.
  12. by   deespoohbear
    Originally posted by mamabear
    What ethics committee?
    Us too! We supposedly have an "ad hoc" ethics committee, but I don't think they have ever been utilized. I had one case that I definitely wanted to go to a committee, but our DON didn't have the b*lls to assemble the so-called ad hoc committee. A couple of the docs definitely go overboard with aggressive treatment and life sustaining measures. A lot of grief and suffering could be spared if ethics committees were more utilized. Just my .02.
  13. by   gojack
    Yes, I reported to the ethics committee of the largest chain of psych care delivery in the US. As a result, I got blacklisted from future employment with this crew.

    A year later, '60 Minutes' televised an investigation of the fraud that this outfit was doing nationally, both with Medicare and abuse of adolescents being involved. A year after that, the federal government slapped a token fine on this "psychiatric hospital" chain. And now, the same group of shadow corporations has its big cheese heading up a Bush commision on delivery of US psychiatric care.

    If the fox is in the hen house, it does little to go and report the crime to his lawyer (the ethics committee). "If you can't get help from -------, please get help from somewhere!" Of course, the reason we didn't admit you, is simply because you had no insurance.
  14. by   mamabear
    Message to gojack:
    I live and work in Northwest Indiana. We had 3 of the "if you don't get help from -------, please get help ..." hospitals. All 3 have gone belly-up and one of them is involved in some heavy-duty litigation re: money owed former employees I never worked at -------, but several co-workers at my current place of employment did, and they can't say enough bad things about the place. Kudos to you for having the spine and integrity to speak up:kiss
    Nursing needs more people like you!:angel2:

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