Ethics in Patient Care

Skip Navigation

white bar
side shadow side shadow side shadow side shadow side shadow
gutter shadow

Ethics in Patient Care

Quality and compassion are the cornerstones of our care. They are also the nucleus for our medical decision making. Ethical dilemmas in medicine are a common feature in today's hospital landscape, and many of those decisions can be complex and challenging.

Every Dignity Health hospital has an Ethics Committee whose role is to educate, develop policy and support clinical decision making. These committees offer multi-disciplinary ethics consultation services to help patients, families, surrogates, and healthcare providers address uncertainty or conflict regarding value-laden issues that can emerge in health care. During an ethics consultation, many factors are weighed and considered, including medical facts; patient preferences; views of family, friends and caregivers; and religious, social, legal and administrative factors.

In providing compassionate care, it is inherent in our mission to consistently respect the values of our patients and to promote basic values of fairness, justice, and integrity. Above all, we vow to do no harm as we heal.

The Phoenix Case

On December 21, 2010 Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix decreed that Dignity Health's St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center could no longer be considered Catholic. This action followed months of dialogue between CHW, St. Joseph’s, and the Diocese regarding the life-saving care delivered to a pregnant patient in November 2009. Dignity Health is confident that St. Joseph's acted in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives when they saved the only life they could save. Information intended to clarify the facts of this case, as well as additional resources for those interested in the intersection of medicine and Catholic teaching can be found here.

Conversations with Carol Bayley, PhD

Carol Bayley, Dignity Health’s VP for Ethics and Justice Education, shares a series of conversations on topics of general interest in medical ethics.


side shadow
side shadow
side shadow
185 Berry Street, Suite 300 San Francisco, CA 94107 | (415) 438-5500