Volume 18, Issue 1, Spring 2018
Ethics Services in Catholic Health Care
Birgitta Sujdak Mackiewicz
Essential Goals of Ethics Committees and the Role of Professional Ethicists
Ethics committees in Catholic health care are responsible for consultation, education, and policy development and review. Historically, ethics committees were reactive and had no articulated goals. This article argues that the essential goals of Catholic ethics committees are (1) to promote the human dignity of patients and staff; (2) to promote the common good; (3) to promote institutional identity, integrity, and ethical climate; and (4) to improve quality of care. These goals are most effectively met when ethics committees are proactive and integrated in the institution, embrace systems thinking, and utilize professional ethicists locally or regionally.