The University of Missouri Health Care Ethics Consultation Service is staffed by ethics committee members with specific training in the area of ethics who are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These members provide quick consultations to patients, their families, surrogates, or health care providers who need assistance in difficult decision making.

When to Call the Ethics Consultation Service

Questions such as, "What is the right thing to do?" are very real in these times of increasingly high-tech medical care. Dilemmas and conflicts may arise when a patient, their family member, health care professional, or the hospital has different ideas about values, responsibilities, and loyalties.

The Consultation Process

Following a request for consultation, a representative of the ethics consultation service will communicate with the individual requesting assistance. If further discussion is needed, a meeting will be scheduled to include the patient and/or family or representative(s), the health care provider(s) involved in the case, and other members of the health care team.

During this private meeting, open and honest discussion will be encouraged about the clinical circumstances and the ethical concerns, and an attempt will be made to resolve conflict. The ethics consultant will assist by facilitating the discussion, helping outline the ethical issues and offering suggestions for reasonable action. Final decisions are to be made by the patient and his or her representative(s) in conjunction with the patient's physician and other members of the health care team.

Making Informed Decisions

University of Missouri Health Care believes in the rights of patients to make informed treatment decisions and provides a caring environment to support an informed choice. To discuss any questions or concerns with an ethics consultant, ask your doctor, nurse, social worker, or chaplain to contact the hospital operator at 573-882-4141, and ask for the ethics consultant on call to be paged.

Tele-Ethics Consultation Services

Since its development and expansion in 2004, the University of Missouri Health Care's Clinical Ethics Committee, along with the Ethics Consultation Service, have had profound effects on healthcare at this institution. We are presently averaging five ethics consults a month in various venues. We also provide consultation to institutions and clinicians outside of our institution and throughout the state through any communication means including phone, email, and telehealth.

The Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN) increases access to patient-centered health care via telehealth for rural and underserved Missourians by providing technical assistance to health care organizations, partnering with key stakeholders, operating telehealth programs, and supporting and developing telehealth policies. MTN provides expertise in key telehealth domains including technical, clinical, and operational, legal and regulatory, and evaluation.

University of Missouri Health Care's ethics consult service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will work to provide timely and efficient responses to providers, patients, and families who need assistance with making difficult treatment decisions, or when other ethical dilemmas occur. Tele-ethics is just one more means by which this service can be provided in an efficient and user-friendly fashion for those in need outside of the University of Missouri system. To inquire about tele-ethics consultation, please call 573-882-2738 or email