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Healthcare Ethics

Patients, families and healthcare professionals sometimes face difficult decisions about medical treatments. These decisions may conflict with a patient and/or family's morals, religious beliefs or healthcare guidelines. Healthcare ethics is a thoughtful review of how to act in the best interest of patients and their family. It is also about making good choices based on beliefs and values regarding life, health, suffering and death.

What are some ethical questions?
In some cases, questions arise when people do not agree about what is best for a person who is ill. Examples of common questions include:

  • When should breathing machines or feeding tubes be started, continued or discontinued?
  • What if a patient refused medical treatment?
  • Who should speak or make decisions for patients who cannot make their own decisions?
  • What help can be given to patients who have trouble making their own healthcare decisions?
What is the ethics committee?
The ethics committee helps patients, families and healthcare workers identify, understand and resolve hard ethical questions. The committee consists of the following:
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Clergy
  • Patient Liaison Social Workers
  • Community Members
What should I do if I need ethics advice?

To request advice, ethics help or a formal ethics consultation, contact Summa's Patient Liaison at (330) 375-3925, Summa Health System – Barberton Campus (330) 615-4046, Summa Health Wadsworth-Rittman Medical Center (330) 331-1095. Monday through Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm. After hours and on weekends, call the on-call administrator at (330) 375-3000. Summa Health System – Barberton Campus (330) 331-1448 and Summa Health Wadsworth-Rittman Medical Center (330) 615-3000. If advice is needed, you may meet with the ethics team. At this meeting, the committee is available for consultation. The ethics team offers advice but does not make decisions for you.

What happens after ethics help is requested?
The ethics team will gather facts, ask questions and listen to you carefully and offer you options to consider.

Will an ethics consultation be confidential?
Yes. All discussions are confidential.

Is advice from an ethics consultation legally binding? 
No. The ethics committee does not make legally binding decisions, they offer suggestions or recommendations. 

Is there a charge for an ethics consultation? 
All ethical help is free to you, your family and the staff at Summa Health System.

Additional Services Provided by the Ethics Committee Review:
  • Patient care policies that may create ethical concerns
  • Discuss patient care issues and give advice when necessary
  • Provide ethical consultation
  • Provide ethics education for patients, community, physicians and hospital staff.

For more information, to request ethics help or a consultation, call the patient liaison (330) 375-3925. Summa Health System – Barberton Campus (330) 615-4046 and Summa Health Wadsworth-Rittman Medical Center (330) 331-1095. Monday through Friday, 8:30 am - 5 pm. 

After 5 pm on weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, call the on-call administrator:
Summa Health System – Akron and St. Thomas Campuses - (330) 375-3000
Summa Health System – Barberton Campus - (330) 651-3000
Summa Health Wadsworth-Rittman Medical Center - (330) 331-1448


Options to Request an Appointment

If your situation is an emergency, call 911.