Ethics Consultation

Clinical Ethics Consultation Service for UW Medicine


The Department of Bioethics & Humanities oversees and coordinates the UW Medicine Ethics Consultation Service. Faculty, clinicians, staff, patients, and families may consult us when they would like any of the following related to a patient’s care: clarification of their own values; assistance understanding ethical dimensions of the situation; help discussing different perspectives related to the best course of treatment; or assistance resolving disagreements among or between key decision-makers (patient, surrogate, and treating providers). Ethics consultants will try to understand each person’s values and perspectives, respectfully relay and convey those values to others, and work collaboratively to try to reach consensus on an ethically sound course of action.

The UW Medical Center-Montlake, UW Medical Center-Northwest, and Harborview Medical Center Ethics Committees serve in an advisory role on clinical issues that involve an ethical question. Ethics committees also provide education and develop/review hospital policy.


How to Request a UW Medicine Clinical Ethics Consultation


Clinical ethics consultations can be requested by any member of the care team, patient, patient family member, or loved one when an ethical concern arises in patient care.

  • Harborview Medical Center: Call 206-744-3000 and ask the paging operator to page the ethics consultant on call. Consultants are available Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm, with the exception of UW holidays.
  • UW Medical Center-Montlake: Call 206-598-3300 and ask the paging operator to page the ethics consultant on call. Consultants are available Monday-Friday 8am-5pm with the exception of UW holidays.
  • UW Medical Center-Northwest: Call the nurse supervisor at 206-668-1296 and request the on-call ethics consultant. 

Research Bioethics Consultations


The UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences provides a research bioethics consultation service to support research-related issues. These consults can be requested by families, trainees, research staff, investigators, or institutional review boards. Please contact the ITHS office at 206-616-3875 or by email to request a research bioethics consultation, and a consultant will respond within one business day.