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Ethics Consultation Service

What is The Johns Hopkins Hospital Ethics Committee?

Making decisions about your child’s care can sometimes be difficult or confusing. When there is a conflict between the choices of what should be done, ethical dilemmas related to values, personal beliefs or religious beliefs could arise.  The Johns Hopkins Ethics Committee provides advice to patients, families, surrogates, health care professionals, or other involved parties concerning the complex ethical issues that can arise in the course of patient care. 

Who are we?

The Johns Hopkins Hospital Medical Ethics Committee and Consultation Service is made up of representatives from various clinical and administrative departments for the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, as well as members of the surrounding community.  Members of the Ethics Committee represent the School of Nursing, the School of Medicine, the Hospital Departments, the Division of Pastoral Care, the Legal Department, Resident Staff, Hospital Medical Staff, Administration and the Baltimore community.

What is an Ethics Consultation?

Ethics consultations are provided by the Ethics Committee to facilitate discussion among patients, families, health care professionals, or other involved parties faced with concerns or conflict over patient care decisions.  These decisions include, but are not limited to:

  1. Beginning of life decisions
  2. End-of-life decisions
  3. Decisions regarding organ and tissue donation.

An Ethics Consultation requires the consultants to hear from all parties involved in the care of the patient, in order to understand all the issues and concerns.  The Ethics Consultation team consists of 3-5 persons, and usually includes a physician, a nurse, a social worker, and a chaplain or a member of the Hospital Legal Department.  Ethics consultants are advisory only; the consultants do not make the decisions for the patients, families, or health care team.  Instead, the ethics consultants provide advice regarding the treatment or decision opinions in any given case, so as to help patients, families and the health care team come to agreement over the ethically permissible options.

How do I contact the Johns Hopkins Hospital Ethics Committee?

If you would like advice from a member of the Ethics Committee, please call 410-614-0710.  In emergency situations, usually when the care of a patient is at issue, an ethics consultant can be paged 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  To contact the ethics consultant, dial 3-6104 (inside hospital) 410-283-6104 (outside hospital).

The only requirements for requesting an Ethics Consultation are:

  1. The patient is in Johns Hopkins Hospital
  2. The person requesting the consultation is either the patient, a member of the family, the patient’s legal guardian, the patient’s surrogate decision maker, or a member of the health care team involved in caring for the patient.

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