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Ethics Programs

At BIDMC, “Ethics is Everyone”

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has a long tradition of anchoring the care of patients and families in the humanistic values for which BIDMC is renowned. Because “ethics” can never be separated from daily care, BIDMC has always insisted that the true “Ethics Programs” of the medical center are exactly the sum of all of the actions, virtues, compassion, and other moral qualities of every person who works here.

Our Mission

To promote a culture in which all BIDMC staff appreciate the importance of the interplay between ethical aspects of their work, their decisions, actions, character and morale, and have the support they need to do that work in accordance with BIDMC’s and their own highest moral standards.

Ethics Programs at BIDMC

What We Do

Ethics Programs at BIDMC includes all patients, families, and staff throughout the medical center, but at times, those individuals need help in confronting the many ethical issues that permeate modern medical practice. To that end, BIDMC’s Ethics Support Service (ESS) was established in 1998, and has since provided 24/7 real-time assistance to staff, patients, and families involved in complex patient care decisions. In addition to their work as clinical ethics consultants, the three members of the Ethics Support Service also conduct educational programs and review policies throughout the medical center.

Ethics became a formally recognized core value of our institution under the leadership of former President of Beth Israel Hospital and current BIDMC Trustee Mitchell Rabkin. In 1972, Beth Israel Hospital published the first Patient Bill of Rights, and in 1976, Dr. Rabkin and colleagues published a groundbreaking article entitled “Orders Not to Resuscitate” in the New England Journal of Medicine.


Contact Information

Ethic Support Services Office
Department of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
East Campus, YA-109
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-667-3095
Fax: 617-667-2854

BIDMC Ethics Programs
in the News


December 2014: What Wasn’t Taught
an essay by Grace Farris, MD, Ethics Liaison for Hospital Medicine at BIDMC
Annals of Internal Medicine


July 2014: How Jazz Singer Dolly Baker Found Voice on Deathbed
an ABC News article featuring Lachlan Forrow, MD, Director of the Ethics and Palliative Care Programs at BIDMC