Ethics Committee

At ARHS, we provide guidance through life’s gray areas. The ethics committees at each of our inpatient facilities are a resource for physicians and other healthcare professionals, as well as patients and families, to help resolve ethical dilemmas.

Dilemma: An ethical dilemma is characterized by a situation in which no clear right and wrong exists, but rather a number of less-than-ideal or conflicting options. The Ethics Committee can help with an ethical dilemma.

Violation: An ethical violation is when someone believes a clear wrong has been committed or imposed. Ethical violations are addressed through peer review and other mechanisms, but not through the Ethics Committee.

Committee Availability: Anyone—staff, patients, families, visitors, volunteers—can contact the Ethics Committee for assistance with a hospital-related ethical dilemma.

Committee Function: The Ethics Committee is not an oversight or medical review committee, but a resource for those who are responsible for making decisions in response to the ethical dilemma. The committee doesn’t make decisions or write orders; it is a consultative, impartial body that can facilitate open communication, assist in a resolution process, and/or make recommendations for next steps.

Watauga Medical Center Ethics Committee

Committee Makeup: The committee includes physicians, nurses, a social worker, a chaplain, legal counsel, and other professionals. The committee meets six times a year for case study, policy and consult review, and professional education. The committee is divided into smaller teams that rotate responsibility for responding to emergency ethics consults.

Consulting the Committee: Page the Chaplain on Call at pager 1400; the chaplain will forward your concern confidentially to the appropriate leader of the Ethics Committee. Or speak directly with a member of the committee.

Team Response: A small team from the Ethics Committee will respond to your concerns. The team leader will contact the parties involved within 24 hours.

Ethics Committee Co-Chairs: Dr. B. Lee Kennedy, High Country Neurology Rev. Melanie Childers, Director of Pastoral Care

Cannon Memorial Hospital Ethics Committee

Committee Makeup: The Ethics Committee is open to participation from all staff members.

Consulting the Committee:The Ethics Committee may be contacted through the attending nurse, shift manager, case management or through any member of Administration. The Committee may also be reached by calling the Patient Safety Concern Line at extension 2033.

Team Response: Whenever a consult is received, a member of the Ethics Committee will meet with the individual to identify the issue and establish a time frame for a response.

Ethics Committee Chair:  Kerry Clark

Foley Center Ethics Committee

Committee Makeup: While the Foley Center’s Ethics Consultation Team does not meet regularly, the director, nursing director, and social worker meet to discuss situations that include ethical concerns.

Consulting the Team: Foley Center ethics concerns should be directed to the Foley Center director, director of patient care, or social worker.

Team Response: The team will contact the ARHS vice president for quality as needed, or take issues to the Medical Staff Executive Committee.