Jennifer D. Williams
HLT-520 Legal & Ethical Principles in Healthcare
Dr. Damien Brandeis
April 13, 2011
Bioethics Interview 2
Individuals find themselves having to make important decisions every day. Unfortunately situations may occur that prevents a person from being able to make a decision about their medical care. The decision can be a legal or ethical one. In the medical arena someone has to make this tough decision. The decision what to do would be easy if everyone put in place an advance directive or living will. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations had to come up with ways to deal with ethical issues revolving around impaired or incompetent physicians, end-of-life issues, ethics and economics, and abuse and ethical issues. The quality assurance process including risk management, and the establishment of a Bioethics Committee for the facility are ways hospitals and medical organizations address ethical issues and situations. An advance directive allows the patient to state in advance the kinds of medical care that he or she considers acceptable or not acceptable. In the advance directive the patient can appoint an agent to make the decisions on his or her behalf (Pozgar, 2007, p. 374). A living will according to Pozgar, (2007), p. is the instrument or legal documents that describes those treatments an individual wishes or does not wish to receive should he or she become incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions. When the wish of the patient has not been documented quality assurance and the Bioethics Committee steps in. Quality Assurance involves the processes and personnel involved in providing care, the appropriateness of the care, the quality of the care, and the outcomes for the patient. The ethical involvement of quality assurance involves the consideration of patient’s rights and values, the choices that are made, and the treatment plan. The Bioethics Committee is another part of the ethical process. The Bioethics Committee is a community of individuals, representing a broad range of cultural, professional, and religious backgrounds, where issues concerning human dignity and respect can Bioethics Interview 3
be safely discussed. Ethical decision-making is promoted through policy review and case consultation in instances when values are in conflict. Dr. Ernesto Fernandez and Sue Nemchick, RN are the Co-Chairs for the Bioethical Committee at Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale, Georgia. Dr. Fernandez was the member of the committee interviewed. He is the Head of the Bioethics Committee and Ms. Nemchick is in charge of Risk Management. Dr. Fernandez is a practicing physician in the Riverdale, Georgia area. He has three offices serving this community. His medical specialty is neurology. Dr. Fernandez attended and graduated in 1983 from medical school at De La Salle University College of Medicine in Dasmarinas, Phillipines. Dr. Fernandez moved to the United States and received additional training in the specialty of neurology from Emory University Hospital and Internal Medicine at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. He has twenty eight (28) years of medical experience and has been affiliated with Southern Regional Medical Center for over twenty (20) years. Southern Regional Medical Center is a not-for-profit, full service 331-bed hospital located in Riverdale, Georgia. Dr. Fernandez has been the Chairman of the Bioethics Committee for over five (5) years. The committee consists of a Main Team and several Sub-Teams. The committee is comprised of doctors, nurses, hospital staff, respiratory department, social services, administration, community representative, and the hospital Chaplain. One special addition the hospital boasts about is their use of Mosha Gitteson. Ms GItteson functions as the community member and crisis worker. The teams are...