Thought Leadership and Consultative Services
The Journal of Healthcare Ethics & Administration
The Institute publishes the international, peer-review, open-access publication The Journal of Healthcare Ethics & Administration (JHEA), which reflects on medical and healthcare administration issues. Each published article in the journal is approved by an international editorial board before publication using a double-blind, peer-review process.
Clients and Affiliated Organizations
One of our main constituencies at the Institute of Clinical Bioethics is hospitals and healthcare facilities. We are responsible for 15 hospitals and five nursing home/social services facilities regionally, as well as internationally. Our client services include formal lectures and classes, continuing medical education (CME) ethics programs, institutional ethics committees, institutional review boards (IRB), and a 24/7 ethics consult service on clinical cases that staff, patients, family and others find ethically complex. We also provide clinical ethics education for more than 500 medical interns, resident fellows in various fields of medicine such as internal medicine, emergency medicine, critical care, family medicine, podiatry, radiology and surgery, as well as for medical and nursing students on rotation.
The primary role of the Director while at these affiliated institutions is to supplement the resources already present at the clinical site. Thus, the work of the Director in the hospitals is not designed to replace or substitute for what is already in place. The Director of the Institute will also be responsible for teaching the Ethics Core Curriculum to the medical interns and residents at the affiliated institutions. The training of in-house bioethics committee members is also a priority of these educational programs.
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
At the request of the Cardinal, the focus of the Institute of Clinical Bioethics could take several different forms. In one form, the Director could be available to serve as a professional consultant to the Cardinal on matters related to bioethics in the Archdiocese. In this capacity, the Director will be available to offer advice to the Cardinal on specific issues that confront the Archdiocese, e.g., physician-assisted suicide legislation, stem cell research, etc. The Cardinal could also request the writing and/or review of position papers on bioethical issues related to Archdiocesan concerns. In the latter instance, the Director may well establish a research protocol at Saint Joseph’s University and utilize the resources of the Fellows’ research in the Institute to accomplish this goal.
At the request of the Cardinal, the Director (and/or possibly some of the Fellows) could serve as professional resources for the various Archdiocesan offices related to health care. At their request, the Institute could provide advice on bioethical issues, write position papers or serve as experts to testify on behalf of the Archdiocese’s concerns related to bioethical issues, e.g., physician-assisted suicide, stem cell research, pain management, etc. In addition, from time to time, lectures or symposia could be presented to the clergy and/or other personnel in the Archdiocese on bioethical issues, e.g., end-of-life issues, beginning-of-life issues. The Director could also focus one of the research projects at Saint Joseph’s University on an issue requested by the Cardinal or his representative in the Archdiocese.
Current Clients and Affiliated Organizations
- Abington Hospital - Jefferson Health
- Jefferson Bucks Hospital
- Jefferson Frankford Hospital
- Jefferson Torresdale Hospital
- Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital
- Mercy Philadelphia Hospital
- Mercy Home Health
- Mercy LIFE
- St. Mary Medical Center
- St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children
- Shriners Hospital for Children
- Suburban Community Hospital
- Camilla Hall Nursing Home
- Manresa Hall – Jesuit Community
- Saint Joseph Villa
- Saint Francis Hospital - Wilmington
- Catholic Charities of Maryland
- Mercy Medical Center – Baltimore
- Saint Agnes Hospital - Baltimore
- Caritas Baby Hospital - Bethlehem
Ethics Consult Service
The Institute of Clinical Bioethics provides an Ethics Consult Service. Our faculty consult regularly on clinical cases that staff, patients, family and/or surrogates find morally troubling. Consultants are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ICB faculty meet with the clinical staff, patients nand/or family to clarify the ethical issues and options and to facilitate the decision-making process.
Making decisions amid all the complexities of modern medicine is not easy. Ethical questions can arise when a patient has lost the capacity to make decisions, when it is not clear whether the burdens of a treatment are worth the expected benefits or when values appear to conflict. The Ethics Consult Service is an advisory service that is designed to assist patients, families and all healthcare professionals in identifying, analyzing and resolving ethical dilemmas.
Each Hospital Ethics Committee and its sub-committee may be accessed 24 hours a day by calling the hospital’s page operator and asking the page operator to page the designated team leader (or alternate) of the on-call case review team.
Every member welcomes any questions or requests for informal discussion of clinical ethics at any time. A number of members of these committees have formal training in clinical ethics and most have served for several years on these committees. A roster of current members can be obtained from the Chairs of the Ethics Committees.
A clinical ethicist is on-call at all times. Upon receiving a request for a consult, the ethicist, in conjunction with the consult team, will make initial inquiries and, along with the clinical staff, arrange for a consult meeting that is appropriate to the needs of the parties involved in the case.
Anyone may request a consult. Patients, families, doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains and any member of the medical team are encouraged to call us for assistance.
An ethicist and consult team reviews each request to see what type of consultation is best suited to a particular situation. Sometimes, for instance, the concern may only represent a communication problem. A full consult will generally involve a meeting of the full ethics committee, the healthcare team, the patient and/or the patient's family as appropriate. The consultants do not judge the quality of patient care or make decisions. They help to facilitate a discussion of the situation and clarify the issues from an ethical perspective.