Clinical Ethics Consultations

The Program for Bioethics is responsible for directing and staffing the Clinical Ethics Consultation Service, which reports to the UK HealthCare Ethics Committee. The service is directed by the director of the Program for Bioethics. 

A clinical ethics consultation request means that you want to consult with a bioethicist about a particular case. Consultations can be requested by any health care provider, regardless of level, at UK clinical facilities.

How to Request a Consult

Request a clinical ethics consultation by paging the on-call consultant at 859-330-0365 or by emailing your request. The consultation service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have a rotating service, and a clinical ethics consultant is always on call.

How the Process Works

  • Consultations begin with a meeting between the health care provider(s) requesting the consultation and a bioethicist in which the case or issue is presented to the bioethicist.
  • The bioethicist will involve the attending physician (if s/he did not request the consultation) and collect all facts and information necessary to discuss options and provide some guidance for resolution.
  • A consultation note is usually prepared for the medical record. If appropriate, the bioethicist will involve other bioethicists in the consultation, bring the case to the UK HealthCare Ethics Committee, or involve other UK HealthCare administrative staff from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer or the Office of Corporate Compliance. If appropriate, some cases will be suggested as teaching cases.
  • Faculty are also invited to call a bioethicist to ask about more general ethics issues that arise in the clinical setting. This would not be considered a formal consultation but simply an informative discussion.