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Posted: Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Staff Clinical Ethicist

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018
Medstar Washington Hospital Center

Washington, D.C., United States

Norine A McGrath

Human Resources link:

The mission of the John J. Lynch Center for Ethics is to help clinicians and other hospital professionals meet a standard of excellence in the care of our patients through education, consultation, policy development, attention to organizational ethics and scholarly pursuits in clinical bioethics.

The Center serves the patients, families, clinicians and greater communities of what is now MedStar Washington Hospital Center (MWHC) in Washington, DC. Our 900 bed, urban, not-for-profit teaching hospital provides opportunities to focus on the ethical aspects of care of our patients. As one of only two level 1 trauma centers in Washington, DC with nine intensive care units (ICUs) and one of the busiest cardiac programs in the country, our clinical providers care for some of the sickest, most medically and psycho-socially vulnerable patients that physicians and nurses ever see. The Center seeks to assist in improving outcomes for patients and families and to support those who provide care with the burdens of their responsibilities.

A central responsibility of clinical ethicists in a hospital is to assist the clinical providers in deepening their own knowledge and ability to make ethically sound judgments about their patients care.

One of the primary ways in which the Center delivers education and training to clinical providers is by joining work rounds throughout the hospital. Once a week, an ethicist joins work rounds in the nine ICUs, several ICU step-down units, high-risk obstetrics program, and the advanced heart failure program.
By having a clinical ethicist join work rounds at the bedside, the Center’s clinical ethicists become familiar faces to the teams around the hospital. The presence of a clinical ethicist is an invaluable tool for education and relieves the moral distress that simply comes with the care of critically ill, highly complex patients.

Clinical Ethics Consultation
The CEC service is available to assist in addressing uncertainty, disagreement or conflict 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, conducting approximately 300 CECs a year. Each week, there is a primary and secondary consultant on call. The secondary is always ready to assist with over-flow or for discussion in real-time about a case. For particularly complex ethical cases, the full consultation service meeting is convened.

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