The Center for Ethics in Health Care
Oregon Health & Science University
The Center for Ethics in Health Care at OHSU exists to address Oregon’s medical ethical dilemmas and to influence health policy. Since its beginning in 1989, the Center has brought together physicians, community leaders, social workers, allied health professionals, chaplains, lawyers and social scientists to study, teach and improve individual patient care. Its leaders emphasize patients’ rights to self-determination and physicians’ responsibilities for patient advocacy.
One of the Center’s early successes was the introduction of POLST, a form patients can complete to transform their preferences for emergency medical care into Physicians’ Orders concerning CPR, invasive medical interventions, feeding tubes and intravenous fluids. The POLST is an immensely practical solution to a significant issue, giving first responders to medical emergencies the authority to follow patients’ wishes.
Today the Center manages a diverse array of programs, conferences and initiatives directed to practicing physicians, nurses, medical students, health care administrators and service providers, and every member of the public who will be a health care consumer or who will address end of life issues. The Center’s most recent accomplishment is a medical school class that pairs prospective physicians individually with terminally ill patients.
The Kinsman Foundation’s association with the Ethics Center began well before the Center was founded, with grants beginning in 1986 to OHSU’s Medical Research Foundation, under whose sponsorship the Center began. Currently the Foundation supports a program advancing the rights and dignity of the individual through advances in palliative care at the end of life.
To learn more about the Center, visit them at http://www.ohsu.edu/ethics.