When a child is hospitalized, decisions must be made regarding approaches to care. These decisions are made by a group of people, including the patient (when possible), his or her family, physicians, and other healthcare providers. Because different people hold different viewpoints, values and religious beliefs, making a collective decision about what is best for the child can be difficult.
Nicklaus Children's Hospital acting as the child’s advocate, has a Bioethics Committee that serves as a resource and as an advisory group to help with difficult care-related decisions.
Any parent, family member, or healthcare provider may request a meeting with the Bioethics Committee to receive advice or counsel.
The Role of the Bioethics Committee is to:
- Familiarize the hospital staff and the greater community with ethical issues faced by parents, families, and healthcare providers engaged in the ongoing care of desperately ill children.
- Meet in special session to provide guidance and/or serve as a sounding board for parents, families, and healthcare professionals to discuss specific ethical concerns.
- Recommend and review hospital guidelines for ethical issues that arise related to the care of children.
The Bioethics Committee membership may represent and include:
- Residents of the surrounding community
- Community- and hospital-based physicians
- Social workers
- Biomedical ethicists
- Hospital employees
- Hospital administrators