Ethics Consult Service
Brochure about the Ethics Consult Service
The University of Missouri Health Care Ethics Consult Service is staffed by ethics
committee members with specific training in the area of ethics who are on call 24
hours a day, 7 days a week. These members provide quick consultations to patients,
their families, surrogates, or health care providers who need assistance in difficult
When to Call the Ethics Consult Service
Questions such as, "What is the right thing to do?" are very real in these times
of increasingly high-tech medical care. Dilemmas and conflicts may arise when a
patient, family member, health care professional, or the hospital has different
ideas about values, responsibilities and loyalties.
Consult Service Explanation
The Consultation Process
Following a request for consultation, a representative of the ethics consult service
will communicate with the individual requesting assistance. If further discussion
is needed, a meeting will be scheduled to include the patient and/or family or representative(s),
the health care provider(s) involved in the case and other members of the health
During this private meeting, open and honest discussion will be encouraged about
the clinical circumstances and the ethical concerns, and an attempt will be made
to resolve conflict. The ethics consultant will assist by facilitating the discussion,
helping outline the ethical issues and offering suggestions for reasonable action.
Final decisions are to be made by the patient and his or her representative(s) in
conjunction with the patient's physician and other members of the health care team.
Making Informed Decisions
University of Missouri Health Care believes in the rights of patients to make informed
treatment decisions and provides a caring environment to support an informed choice.
To discuss any questions or concerns with an ethics consultant, ask your doctor,
nurse, social worker or chaplain to contact the hospital switchboard at 882-4141,
and ask for the ethics consultant on call to be paged.
Tele-Ethics Consultation Services
The development and expansion of the hospital clinical ethics committee, along with
the ethics consult service, in University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics has officially
been in force since January 2004, and has had a profound effect on healthcare in
this institution. We are presently averaging 3-4 ethics consults a month in various
venues. We also provide consultation to institutions and clinicians outside of our
institution and throughout the state through any communication means possible, including
phone, email, and the new and innovative means of telehealth video conferencing
The Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN) exists to increase access to health care to
underserved Missourians, to provide specialty care to Missourians in state facilities,
to further homeland security efforts related to bioterrorism, disaster and pandemic
preparedness and response, to serve as a resource (consultant) for health care institutions
and providers who are embarking on their own telehealth program, to provide a mechanism
for clinical research and to provide continuing educational opportunities for health
MTN began in 1994 as one of the nation's first public-private partnerships in telehealth.
Today, MTN has 150 sites in 49 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis and will
add more than 30 sites to the network in the near future.
MTN has provided services in 40 different medical specialties, with a majority of
the work coming from radiology, mental health, dermatology and cardiology. From
1996 to 2008, more than 18,000 interactive video encounters and nearly 100,000 teleradiology
exams have been conducted.
University of Missouri Health Care's ethics consult service is available 24 hours
a day, seven days a week, and will work to provide timely and efficient responses
to providers, patients, and families who need assistance with making difficult treatment
decisions, or when other ethical dilemmas occur. Teleethics is just one more means
by which this service can be provided in an efficient and user friendly fashion
for those in need outside of the University of Missouri system. To inquire about
teleethics consultation, please call 573-882-2738, fax 573-884-2664, or email email@example.com
1. Jerant T, Azari R, Nesbit T. Medical Care 2001
2. Johnson B, Wheeler L, Dueser J, Sousa K, Arch of Fam Med 2000