Ethical decision making at Flagstaff Medical Center

FMC’s Ethics Committee serves the hospital community by helping clarify ethical issues and concerns in patient care and treatment

How can the Ethics Committee be contacted?
Any person involved in a patient’s care, including family members, patients, physicians, nurses or other care providers may contact a member of the Ethics Committee to discuss ethical concerns about the care and treatment of a patient. A list of Ethics Committee members can be found online at

To request an Ethics Committee consultation, you can do the following:

  • Call 928 773-2012 during business hours 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Send an e-mail to
  • Contact the administrative coordinator

    • (DAYS) 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., at 928 814-9656
    • (NIGHTS) 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., at 928 864-6894.

The Committee Chairperson or representative will respond and initiate a confidential review of the case. Recommendations from the Ethics Committee will be provided as quickly as possible.
If you have a concern regarding patient care that is not an ethical issue, you may contact the Patient Relations Manager at 928 214-3568.

The Role of the Ethics Committee
The Ethics Committee functions in an advisory capacity, not in a decision- making role. The Committee offers a confidential forum for anyone facing difficult medical choices or conflicts based on differences in values. Recommendations from the Ethics Committee are intended to help clarify and assist in the resolution of ethical issues. Patients, families and healthcare professionals maintain control of decisions regarding patient care and treatment.

What is an Ethical Dilemma?
Ethics is a system of moral principles or values. A dilemma occurs when a choice may need to be made that requires choosing between alternatives. Conflicts may arise based on differences in values, difficulties in communication, or due to the severe stress of a critical illness. An ethics consultation can be helpful in these situations.

The Consultation Process
Consultation with the Ethics Committee can help to identify and provide resolution of ethical issues that may be the root of conflict in medical decision making. Members of the Ethics Committee will gather information from the patient or patient record, family members and those involved in the care of the patient, clarify potential ethical concerns, conduct a confidential discussion of the case with committee members and provide recommendations to address the ethical dilemma which will be included in the patient’s chart. 

Who serves on the Ethics Committee?
The Ethics Committee is a multidisciplinary group that serves as a resource for patients, families and all members of the healthcare team. The committee is composed of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, administrators, clergy and community representatives. All committee members share special interest and training in healthcare ethics.  The Ethics Committe is dedicated to providing a safe and caring environment by upholding the highest ethical standards in patient care.

Typical Ethical Dilemmas
The types of ethical dilemmas typically experienced by patients, family and staff may include but are not limited to:
• End-of-life decisions
• Pain control
• Confidentiality
• Informed consent
• Family caregiver participation in medical decision making
• Non-adherence to plan of care or refusal of prescription
• Conflicts with healthcare providers
• Beginning-of-life decisions
• Organ donation
• Medical futility

Examples of how the Ethics Committee can help
The committee can provide a forum for respectful dialogue when nurses, physicians or other care providers disagree over the best options for patient care.

We offer support to family members in understanding the issues involved in stopping medically futile treatment.

We work to address questions about a patient’s or surrogate’s ability to make decisions about treatment (a surrogate is a person you designate to make healthcare decisions doe you when you cannot do so yourself). 

Current members of the Ethics Committee
Cindy Martin, MD   Chairperson  
Leah Veschio, RN, MSN     Vice-Chair
Pam Baliad, RN, BSN Secretary
Cindy Beckett, PhD, RNC, LCCE   
Lynn Belcher, MSN, BHA    
Marvin Cody, BS, CNI      
Greg Dalder, LCSW     
John Espen, MEd, MDiv   
Kathleen Hilbers, BS, CHCS   
Steve Lewis, MD, CMO   
Vickie Lewis, MS, RN, CPHRM   
Barb White MS, LMT, NCBMT 
Mark Lacy, MD
Kurt Mueler, MD
Alice Berger, MD
Linda Backus, RN
Joe Coyle Community Member
Katherine Matas, PHD, ANPC
James Joiner Community Member