Alta Bates Ethics Committee | Sutter Health (2023)

Sometimes making the right decision in the face of serious illness can be complicated. When there’s uncertainty or disagreement, theEthics Committee can help.

The Ethics Committee is a group of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center staff (physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and others) and members of the community who are available to help patients, families, doctors and other healthcare providers when they face difficult ethical decisions.

(Video) Standards of Performance: Alta Bates Summit Medical Center

The Ethics Committee meets free of charge to provide a safe, supportive, confidential forum in which you and others can think through a problem, consider different points of view and sort through options. Every attempt is made to involve key members of the healthcare team as well as the patient and family, as appropriate, in the process. After discussing the ethical issues at stake, the Ethics Committee offers advice in the form of a non-binding recommendation. It is then up to those involved to decide what to do next.

Before you contact the Ethics Committee, it’s recommended that you first speak with those involved in your healthcare situation, and that you use all available resources in the hospital to try to resolve the problem. Oftentimes, meeting with the patient, family members, physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, patient representative and other members of the hospital staff can help those involved come to agreement. If what should be done is still unclear, you may contact the Ethics Committee at your campus location.

What are Ethical Dilemmas?

Ethical dilemmas may arise for patients, family members, medical staff members and physicians alike.

Some of the issues surrounding problems for which ethics consultation may be requested include:

(Video) Sutter Secretly Sharing Patients' Private Information, Lawsuit Alleges

  • Advance directives
  • Surrogate decision making
  • Refusal of treatment
  • Conflicts with caregivers
  • Foregoing life-sustaining treatment
  • Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) orders
  • Other issues perceived as ethical problems

Examples of ethical dilemmas may include the following:

  • Your critically ill family member is in the hospital and the doctors and nurses are turning to you to make medical decisions on the patient’s behalf. You don't know how to decide what to do and could use some guidance.
  • You are a patient and are too sick to speak for yourself. You are concerned about who will make medical decisions on your behalf, and whether your wishes will be followed. You wonder, "What if they disagree about what I would want, or what would be best for me?"
  • You are part of the healthcare team and your patient comes from a culture in which it is considered wrong to tell patients that they are dying. You're unclear how to respond to a family’s request to conceal the truth from a dying patient.
  • You are a physician and some may think it is time to withdraw life support and let nature take its course, yet the dying patient’s family insists that you "do everything possible" to keep the patient alive. You're unclear how to solve this problem and worry that "doing everything" might cause the patient pain and discomfort without offering any benefit.
(Video) In Their Own Words: Sutter Health’s Commitment to Cultural Diversity

Contact the Ethics Committee

Summit Campus (Oakland)

To reach the Summit Ethics Committee call the Summit Medical Staff Office between the hours of 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, or the Nursing Supervisor during the evening and weekend hours. Or you may ask any member of your healthcare team for help contacting the Summit Ethics Committee.

  • Summit Medical Staff Office: (510) 869-6565
  • Nursing Supervisor: (510) 655-4000 x2055
  • Administrative Coordinator: (510) 869-2055
  • Social Work: (510) 869-6546
  • Case Management: (510) 869-6577
  • Chaplain Services: (510) 869-6784
  • Patient Relations: (510) 869-6139

Alta Bates & Herrick Campuses (Berkeley)

(Video) Mental Health Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs in the Continuum of Care

Contact the Alta Bates Ethics Committee in Berkeley by calling the Ethics Consultation Pager between the hours of 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. During evenings and on weekends/holidays, contact the Nursing Supervisor. Or you may ask any member of your healthcare team to help you contact the Alta Bates Ethics Committee.

  • Ethics Consultation Pager: (510) 802-0021
  • Nursing Supervisor: (510) 204-3300
  • Alta Bates Medical Staff Office: (510) 204-1521
  • Social Work and Case Management: (510) 204-2064
  • Chaplain Services: (510) 204-6730
  • Patient Relations: (510) 204-4689
(Video) "Clinical Trials and You" by Toni Rodolfo-Benson, RN, MSN, 5/22/22


What are the 4 ethical dilemmas? ›

In LDRS 111 you were introduced to four different ethical dilemma paradigms: truth vs loyalty, short-term vs long-term, individual vs community, and justice vs mercy.

What are the three important questions you must ask yourself when our code of ethics is in conflict with the law? ›

Questions To Ask Yourself
  • Does your decision conflict with any of the core ethical values?
  • Think of someone whose moral judgment you respect. ...
  • How will your decision affect others?
  • Ask yourself: Are my actions legal?
  • Are there regulations, rules, or policies that restrict your choices/ actions?
Feb 3, 2022

How do you solve an ethical dilemma? ›

RIGHT Decision Method
  1. Recognize the ethical dilemma.
  2. Identify points of view.
  3. Gather resources and assistance.
  4. Have a plan.
  5. Take action based on ethical standards.

What are the 4 principles of ethics in healthcare? ›

The four principles of Beauchamp and Childress - autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice - have been extremely influential in the field of medical ethics, and are fundamental for understanding the current approach to ethical assessment in health care.

What are the two big questions ethics seeks to answer? ›

As a branch of philosophy, ethics investigates the questions "What is the best way for people to live?" and "What actions are right or wrong in particular circumstances?" In practice, ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality, by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, ...

What are the 3 ethical questions? ›

Blanchard and Peale suggest that leaders ask the following three questions when making a decision about an ethical problem:
  • Is it legal? The purpose of this question is to get you to look at existing standards. ...
  • Is it balanced? ...
  • How will it make me feel about myself?
Apr 21, 2014

What are 3 types of conflict of interest? ›

Part 3: Different types of conflicts of interest
  • financial conflict;
  • non-financial conflict;
  • conflict of roles; or.
  • predetermination.

What are the 5 ethical standards of healthcare? ›

Main principles of ethics, that is beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice, are discussed. Autonomy is the basis for informed consent, truth-telling, and confidentiality. A model to resolve conflicts when ethical principles collide is presented.

What are the 8 ethical issues related to healthcare? ›

The major 10 ethical issues, as perceived by the participants in order of their importance, were: (1) Patients' Rights, (2) Equity of resources, (3) Confidentiality of the patients, (4) Patient Safety, (5) Conflict of Interests, (6) Ethics of privatization, (7) Informed Consent, (8) Dealing with the opposite sex, (9) ...

What are the 4 steps for solving ethical dilemmas? ›

A rudimentary framework for how managers engage in the decision making process contains four steps.
  1. 1) Identify the problem.
  2. 2) Generate alternatives.
  3. 3) Decide on a course of action.
  4. 4) Implement.

What is the first step you should take when resolving an ethical dilemma? ›

identify an ethical situation and the ethical issues involved in it. This is the first step. Further steps involved in solving an ethical dilemma: The main elements of the situation are identified and analyzed.

What is the 3 step approach to solve an ethical problem? ›

Consider this three-step process for solving an ethical dilemma: (1) analyze the consequences; (2) analyze the actions; (3) make a decision.

What are the 7 medical ethics? ›

There are seven primary ethical principles of nursing: accountability, justice, nonmaleficence, autonomy, beneficence, fidelity, and veracity.

What is code of ethics in healthcare? ›

Code of Ethics for Healthcare Quality Professionals

A code of ethics clarifies roles and responsibilities within a profession and provides guidance to the professional for addressing common ethical questions.

What is the biggest ethical issue today? ›

Harassment and discrimination are arguably the largest ethical issues that impact business owners today. Should harassment or discrimination take place in the workplace, the result could be catastrophic for your organization both financially and reputationally.

What is an ethical conflict in healthcare? ›

Abstract. By definition, an ethical dilemma involves the need to choose from among two or more morally acceptable options or between equally unacceptable courses of action, when one choice prevents selection of the other.

What is the most controversial topic in healthcare? ›

Clinical topics commonly considered controversial include abortion and other aspects of reproductive health; end-of-life and palliative care matters, including physician-assisted dying; LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer [or questioning], intersex, asexual) care; elements of addiction medicine and ...

What is the most important question in ethics? ›

Each of us must still ask, “What should I do?” This then is the most important question: “What are our obligations?” The question “What are our obligations?” satisfies all required criteria.

Are there answers in ethics? ›

Ethics doesn't give right answers

Ethics doesn't always show the right answer to moral problems. Indeed more and more people think that for many ethical issues there isn't a single right answer - just a set of principles that can be applied to particular cases to give those involved some clear choices.

What simple question does ethics attempt to answer? ›

Ethics is a broad term that covers the study of the nature of morals and the specific moral choices to be made. Normative ethics attempts to answer the question, “Which general moral norms for the guidance and evaluation of conduct should we accept, and why?” [5].

What are the 4 ethical concepts? ›

The 4 main ethical principles, that is beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice, are defined and explained. Informed consent, truth-telling, and confidentiality spring from the principle of autonomy, and each of them is discussed.

What are the major ethical dilemmas? ›

False accounting, sexual harassment, data privacy, nepotism, discrimination—these are just some of the ethical dilemmas that happen in today's workplace. Many business owners and managers will deal with ethical issues at some point in their career.

What are 4 ethical behaviors? ›

Ethical behavior includes honesty, fairness, integrity and understanding.

What are the 4 rules of ethical decision making? ›

Autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice, often referred to as The Four Principles have canonical status within the field of medical ethics.

What are the five 5 main principles of ethics? ›

Moral Principles

The five principles, autonomy, justice, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and fidelity are each absolute truths in and of themselves. By exploring the dilemma in regards to these principles one may come to a better understanding of the conflicting issues.

What are the 3 main theories of ethics? ›

In this article, we consider three ethical theories—deontological, consequentialist and virtue ethics—and propose a mixed approach for developing a framework in the design and development of research evaluation.

When can patient autonomy be overruled? ›

Full autonomy ceases to exist when another person takes over the decision-making role. Subsequently, autonomy is limited because of one's cultural and traditional beliefs. The argument is therefore that autonomy is not absolute and it can be limited in accordance to a person's cultural, traditional and legal systems.


1. BRI Virtual Event Series, Dr. Marilyn Singleton speaks of the current state of healthcare & Covid-19
(Benjamin Rush Institute)
2. Board of Vocational Nursing & Psychiatric Technicians Meeting (part 2 of 3) -- November 16, 2017
(California Department of Consumer Affairs)
3. Healthy Cognitive Functioning During the Aging Process
(United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)
4. Leveraging of Psychologist Competencies: Expanding Administrative Leadership Training Opportunities
(VA Section Division 18)
5. WSPF - "Talking with Patients and Families after Adverse Events:" by Dr. Truog for OPENPediatrics
6. Washington Township Health Care District Board Meeting - 5/8/13
(InHealth: A Washington Hospital Channel)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kerri Lueilwitz

Last Updated: 03/11/2023

Views: 6197

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kerri Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1992-10-31

Address: Suite 878 3699 Chantelle Roads, Colebury, NC 68599

Phone: +6111989609516

Job: Chief Farming Manager

Hobby: Mycology, Stone skipping, Dowsing, Whittling, Taxidermy, Sand art, Roller skating

Introduction: My name is Kerri Lueilwitz, I am a courageous, gentle, quaint, thankful, outstanding, brave, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.