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Healthcare Ethics

healthcareethics

Our ethics section has two primary goals:

First, this resource page is intended to allow members of Ascension Health and Ascension Health ethics committees to access tools that will aid them in fulfilling their professional duties.

Second, this resource page is intended to provide users with a comprehensive understanding of both general healthcare ethics and specific Catholic moral teaching as it relates to ethical issues in healthcare.

Therefore, this resource should be considered a living document that will continually grow and be revised in an attempt to come ever closer to its goal.

This resource provides definitions and analyses of ethical principles, as well as issues and concepts that are relevant to Catholic-sponsored healthcare at a foundational level. It further relates these principles, issues and concepts to policies and cases. This resource also provides extensive references to further resources and Internet links, which will enable users to explore the various subjects in greater depth. Sample brochures, models of ethical decision-making, position statements, policies and procedures, learning modules, articles and sources of research, as well as assessment tools, also have been provided for educational purposes and to help individuals and committees to fulfill their tasks in carrying out the healing mission of Christ.

Why include Ethics on the Ascension Health Web site?

Because healthcare ethics is an interdisciplinary field, the issues with which this resource is concerned range from broad theological and philosophical considerations (for example, about human dignity and the common good) to more technical considerations of medicine, the delivery of healthcare and health law, as well as issues and considerations that are unique to the field of healthcare ethics.

In providing this resource, the ethics department has two primary goals. First, this resource page is intended to allow members of Ascension Health and Ascension Health ethics committees to access tools that will aid them in fulfilling their professional duties. Second, this resource page is intended to provide its users with a comprehensive understanding of both healthcare ethics in general and, more particularly, Catholic moral teaching as it relates to ethical issues in healthcare. This second goal, with its emphasis on comprehensiveness, should be considered as an ideal, i.e., always to be sought but not actually attainable. Thus, this resource should be considered a living document that will continually grow and be revised in an attempt to come ever closer to its goal.

Guiding Principles

In addition to being guided by the mission, vision and values of Ascension Health, this Web site also is guided by the following principles:

Diversity

There are as many different moral codes, value systems, and interpretations of ethics as there are religions and worldviews. The ethics department recognizes that, as an institution, Ascension Health is comprised of individuals from all walks of life and respects their personal moral and religious perspectives. The primary focus of this resource, however, is healthcare ethics from the Catholic perspective.

Honesty

The ethics department of Ascension Health recognizes that communication must always be truthful, since truth is essential to individual liberty and to authentic community among persons.

Candor

The ethics department of Ascension Health recognizes that there are and always will be many different and sometimes competing interpretations and analyses of ethical theories, methodologies, issues, and concepts, even within the Catholic tradition. The following considerations are intended to reflect a particular moral character that the ethics department strives to promote.

Impartiality

The considerations offered in this resource reflect a Catholic moral perspective, which may itself be open to interpretation and debate. In an attempt to present this material in a fair and balanced manner, we have tried to identify the different sources of debate — within the field of healthcare ethics in general, and within this particular moral perspective.

Non-Affiliation

By providing links to other Web sites, the ethics department does not intend to imply financial or moral affiliation with their sponsors, to provide advertising for these sites and their sponsors, or to endorse the views and opinions of those who maintain those sites. Sites to which links are provided have been reviewed and chosen only because they contribute to a fuller understanding of the subject matter and/or present the material in a manner that is generally consistent with the values of Ascension Health.

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