The Clinical Ethics Center at Memorial Medical Center was established in 1995 in cooperation with the Department of Medical Humanities of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. The Clinical Ethics Center was created in response to the increasing importance of ethics to the daily work of the Medical Center. This importance is reflected in the steady increase in requests for ethics consultations that the Human Values and Ethics Committee has received, the increased emphasis on patient rights in the Joint Commission's accreditation guidelines, and in the significant structural changes health care is currently experiencing.
The Clinical Ethics Center provides education, consultation, research and policy development in clinical ethics. Clinical ethics is a field of study that focuses on decision-making in the health care setting, where patients, families and health professionals often face difficult decisions about medical treatments and patient care. These decisions may involve moral values, religious beliefs, or professional duties and guidelines. Clinical ethics offers ways to identify and weigh the values at stake so that the individuals responsible for decisions can make good choices. Ethical questions and concerns arise when the right thing to do is not clear, or when disagreement exists about what is best for a patient.
The Clinical Ethics Center maintains a collection of key journals devoted to biomedical ethics. Circulation of the journals is available to the Human Values and Ethics Committee and others who have an interest in biomedical ethics. Memorial Medical Center's Schnepp Professional Library and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine's Medical Library are also available to the faculty and staff of the Clinical Ethics Center in helping obtain literature in biomedical ethics. Personnel include the director, the medical director, the ethicist, per diem ethicist/SAGE co-ordinator, a fellow and a support individual.
The Clinical Ethics Center is located within Memorial Medical Center, Room B-145 area.