Difficult Decisions

How do I make the really tough choices?

Your Scripps doctors, nurses and other care team members are well-trained and well-educated to provide the most effective care possible. Most often, patients, families and care teams agree on what to do.


However, there are circumstances when a patient or the person making decisions

for a patient feels the time has come to stop or limit medical treatment. Other times, patients and families might want intervention and more treatments, even though their doctor feels they face death or will not have a reasonable quality of life.


To help when medical decisions get extremely hard, we encourage you and your family to communicate your concerns to the physicians directing your care. You’re also welcome to speak to the hospital chaplain, or invite your own clergy or spiritual leader for a hospital visit.


Additionally, Scripps has an ethics committee of doctors, nurses, case managers, chaplains and other professionals who can help.

What does the ethics committee do?

The ethics committee can provide help with difficult ethical choices. The committee also
educates staff and the community about current medical-ethical issues, and develops guidelines for patient care.


If you’re finding it difficult to reach an important decision, please ask a staff member to contact the ethics committee. They welcome the opportunity to help.