Ethics Terms

Advance Directive
A legal document that makes a person’s wishes about healthcare known.

The act of “doing good.”

Case for Consultation
A case requested of the Ethics Committee by a member of the team in search of guidance, advice, or recommendations for health care decision-making.

Case for Review
A case presented to the Ethics Committee for clarification and/or recommendations.

Competent Patient
A patient is considered competent and to have capacity if they can reason, communicate thoughts, make decisions in their best interests, and understand the consequences of their decisions.

The moral and legal responsibility of ALL medical professionals to protect ALL personal information concerning the patient.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions
A legal document that authorizes a person to make health care decisions for a patient in the event that he or she is not able to make decisions.

Any intervention performed on a terminally ill or irreversibly injured patient with the intent of causing death to ease suffering.

Futile Medical Treatment
Medical treatments that are not likely to help a patient because of their health status.

Informed Consent
The process of learning about and understanding the purpose, benefits, and potential risks of a medical or surgical intervention and agreeing to receive the intervention.

Living Will
A legal document that lets a person choose what type of medical care they would and would not want if they become unable to make health care decisions for themselves. 

The goal of treatments are to improve health and wellness, not harm; “do no harm”. 

The act of making decisions about a patient’s care without the knowledge or consent of the patient.

Patient Surrogate
An individual that has the legal authority to make health care decisions on behalf of the patient if they are not able.   

Patient Autonomy
The right of a patient to make his or her own decisions about medical treatments. 


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