Ethical Committee Enforcing Patient’s Advance Directives

Topic: Medical Ethics
Words: 314 Pages: 1

In the modern health care system, a patient’s desire is the underlying factor in health care decisions. The advance directive document gives patients the right to decide on the kind of health care they want. It provides directives on ways to handle patients when they are incapable of making decisions. All health care agencies have an ethical committee whose role is to protect and defend the contexts of the advance directive.

The work of ethical committees in health care agencies is to provide guidance and support when complex situations arise regarding a patient’s advance directive. These situations include legal principles, religious and cultural conflicts which may affect patient care. The ethical committee reviews cases that result in moral complexities and provide clarity to the problem (Miller, 2017). For instance, Do Not Resuscitate is a form of the advance directive with a different interpretation in the legal and religious disciplines. Legal practitioners may interpret the practices as neglect of the duty of care by health practitioners. Religious people may interpret it as a form of mercy killing. The two interpretations have potential effects on patient care thus require clarity. In such cases, the ethical committee defends the action of medical physicians by providing evidence of the reason for the act.

The ethical committee reviews the outcome and implication of the advance directive and helps a patient make a well-thought decision. The committee acts as an advisory body to help patients make reasonable decisions when drafting their advance directives (Carr & Luth, 2017). It provides viable alternatives for patients to consider when deciding on their advance directives. The committee provides patients with all relevant information regarding the decision they are about to make. The role of the ethical committee in enforcing the advance directives of the patients is to act in an advisory capacity and provide clarity to the moral dilemmas that result from advance directives.


Carr, D., & Luth, A. E. (2017). Advance care planning: Contemporary issues and future directions. Journal of The Gerontological Society of America, 1(11), 1-10. Web.

Miller, B. (2017). Nurses in the know: The history and future of advance directives. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 22(3), 1-5. Web.

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