Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does Ethics do?

Ethics helps individuals and groups work through and resolve ethical dilemmas

What is an ethical dilemma?

Often an ethical dilemma occurs in situations with conflicting values or where the appropriate course of action is unclear, when reasonable people disagree.

What are some of the key principles of Ethics?
  • Beneficence: contributing to the welfare of others
  • Nonmaleficence: refraining from causing harm to others
  • Autonomy: Includes rights of self-determination and informed decision making
  • Justice: includes individual and distributive justice
When might you consider contacting Ethics?
  • When there is a difference of opinion between members of the healthcare team
  • Where there is a difference of opinion between patients, family members, surrogate decision members and the healthcare team
  • When the patient and others (e.g. members of the treating team or surrogate decision makers) disagree about how best to proceed
  • When team members are experiencing moral distress
  • When you believe there is an ethical dilemma
What is a surrogate decision maker?
  • An individual who makes decisions for a patient unable to make her/his own decisions
  • Examples include:
    • parents making decisions for their minor children
    • guardians making decisions for an individual
    • spouses deciding for their incapacitated partner
How do you ask for an Ethics consult?
  • Page Ethics 24/7 through the TCH page operator or call the Ethics consultation line at 832-822-0500.
  • You may also contact Ethics leadership to discuss an ethical concern or request a consult.
  • Members of the Ethics leadership team are:
What happens after you request an Ethics consult?
  • A member of the Ethics team will contact you to learn more about your concerns
  • You may ask to have your identity kept confidential
  • Options will be explored in the context of the situation
  • Ethics may meet with you individually
  • Ethics may meet with the patient, research participant, family and/or surrogate
  • Ethics may participate in multidisciplinary healthcare team or family meetings
  • Ethically supportable option(s) will be identified
  • A note may be entered into the medical record