Clinical Ethics

Every patient has the right to request an ethics consultation. Fletcher Allen's clinical ethicists help patients, families, and health professionals work through difficult situations. Ethicists do not tell people what to do, but they do explore the ethical aspects of health care decisions, and ensure patients' rights are being respected.

An ethicist is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To obtain an clinical ethics consultation, call the department at (802) 847-2000. Or call the Provider Access Service at (802) 847-2700, and ask to speak with the ethicist on call.

Ethics consultation might be considered when you have concerns about:

  • limitation of treatment
  • interpretation or application of advance directives
  • selection of appropriate surrogate for a patient
  • appropriate limits to parental authority for medical decision-making
  • assessment of competence to consent or refuse
  • use of scarce/expensive resources
  • assessment of differing cultural or religious beliefs
  • patient/family requests for "inappropriate" therapies
  • patient/family requests for unorthodox therapies
  • decision-making for socially isolated patients
  • issues of confidentiality
  • consent for research
  • financial constraints on treatment

The Clinical Ethics Consultation service takes a compassionate, multidisciplinary approach, seeking the input of all who care for the patient. Please consider an ethics consultation when important questions arise concerning optimum care.

Clinical Ethicists at Fletcher Allen:

Robert Macauley, M.D.
Robert D. Orr, M.D.
Sally Bliss, MSB, RN
Gail M. Cashman, MSB, MSN, RN

Smith Building, Level 2
Medical Center Campus
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 847-2000