Hospital Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee serves as a helpful resource to Stony Brook University Hospitals' staff, patients, and families, helping to navigate ethical challenges that may arise in healthcare.

Why seek an ethics consultation?

An ethics consultation serves as a valuable resource whenever unresolved ethical concerns arise for the healthcare team, the patient, or the patient's family. Such consultations provide recommendations that can aid members of the healthcare team and the patient (or their family) in their decision-making processes.

Examples of situations where an ethics consultation may be beneficial include:

  • Uncertainty regarding who should make healthcare decisions or how to make them for patients unable to communicate their preferences.
  • Conflicts between personal values or religious beliefs and recommended treatment options
  • Disagreements regarding the initiation, continuation, or cessation of treatment, such as the use of breathing tubes or feeding tubes.
  • Moral distress stemming from a healthcare decision.
  • Complex medical scenarios that raise ethical concerns.

Who can request a consultation?

Our services are available to patients, their family members, and any member of the healthcare team. Ethics consults are free of charge.

When should someone request a consultation?

If you believe a consultation could be beneficial or if you have questions about the process, please feel free to call and inquire.

What occurs upon making a request?

  • An ethics consultation is regarded as a confidential component of patient care. Upon receiving a request, an ethics consultant will collect basic information from you and outline our procedures.
  • The consultation may progress in various ways, contingent upon the request, the issue at hand, and the ethics consultant's initial assessment. It's common for the consultant to engage with the medical team, bedside caregivers, and the patient or family. If someone prefers not to participate or wishes to delegate representation, we can usually accommodate such preferences.
  • At times, the ethics consultant may propose one or more meetings to delve into the issue and assist in identifying viable options. Additional members of the ethics consultation service might also participate in these discussions.
  • The ethics consultant will provide recommendations relevant to your ethical concerns. It's important to note that ethics consultation is for advisory purposes, with final decisions resting with the patient, family, and healthcare team.
  • Following the consultation, the ethics consultant will follow up with you, and possibly others involved, to see if any further clarification or assistance is required before concluding the consultation process.
To request assistance from the Hospital Ethics Committee at Stony Brook University Hospital, please call
(631) 689-8333.
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