Medical Ethics Committee

About Medical Ethics

There are times when questions and options about medical care and treatment pose dilemmas for patients, families, physicians and staff. Often there is no clear right or wrong answer.

Ethical issues that might arise in health care include:

  • Differences of opinion about care between patient/family and physician/staff, or among family or staff
  • Religious or cultural beliefs that conflict with medical treatment
  • Concerns about advance directives
  • End of life issues, such as the removal of a feeding tube
  • Decisions about organ donation
  • Questions about ethical policies or guidelines
  • The rights of a patient

About the Medical Ethics Committee

Greenwich Hospital's Medical Ethics Committee is a joint interdisciplinary group of medical physicians, a psychiatrist or psychologist, nurses, social workers, chaplains, a bioethicist and several non-Greenwich Hospital community members bound by legal confidentiality agreements to protect patient and family privacy.

The Medical Ethics Committee:

  • Provides education and guidance to the hospital and medical staff and to the community served by the hospital.
  • Assists with drafting and reviewing guidelines and policies on matters which have ethical dimensions, such as Patient Rights, Do Not Resuscitate Orders, Removal of Life Sustaining Treatments, and Organizational Ethics.
  • Provides case consultation as requested by patients, family or staff in a supportive forum.

Ethics Consultation

Consultations may be requested by the patient or legally authorized representative, a member of the patient’s family, or any member of the health care team.

When a consultation is requested:

  • The Consultation Sub-Committee (CSC) meets with the patient, or designated representative, family, physician(s), healthcare team members, and clergy if requested to discuss the medical facts of the case and the concerns or values the parties feel are at stake.
  • Next, the CSC will meet privately to discuss recommendations. It may bring the matter before the full Medical Ethics Committee. 
  • The CSC’s recommendations will be transmitted to the attending physician who is responsible for communicating the findings to the other involved parties, unless it is determined that the CSC communicate directly with other members of the health care team.
  • The outcome of the consultation will be documented in the patient’s chart by the co-chair.
  • The conclusions of the CSC will be reviewed by the full Medical Ethics Committee at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

How to Request an Ethical Consultation

Patients and Families

To request a consultation with our Medical Ethics Committee, contact the Spiritual Care Department, 203-863-3146, or Patient and Guest Relations, 203-863-4746.

Staff and Medical Personnel

Contact the Medical Ethics Committee co-chairs Donna Coletti, MD, 203-863-4622, or Margaret Towers, 203 863-3375.