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Clinical Ethics

The PHSA Ethics Service is a free, confidential service.  We support people seeking and accessing services, as well as their loved ones.

Are you facing a difficult medical decision?

  • Uncertainty or confusion about what treatment option is best for you/your child
  • Questions about your child/youth's role in making health care decisions for themselves
  • Concerns about continuing, stopping or refusing treatment
  • Issues regarding patient rights
  • Different opinions among or between family members and/or healthcare providers about treatment goals or the plan of care
  • End of life decision making
A ethics consultation can help. 

  • We meet with patients, families and/or healthcare teams to identify and help balance various, sometimes conflicting, interests & values
  • We assist patients, families and healthcare teams in reaching ethically based decisions and care plans
  • We do not make decisions for you
  • If there are different views about a plan of care, we can help by providing the opportunity for a discussion that is safe, respectful and fair
Call us to make an appointment for an ethics consultation.

Contact us 

 Alice Virani July 2015.jpg

Dr. Alice Virani, Clinical Ethicist

 Laurie Stewart.jpg

Laurie Stewart, Program Administrator



Our Goal is to enhance Clinical Care and its outcomes by: 

  1. Encouraging and supporting the patient & family voice.
  2. Developing resources to help families and healthcare teams understand and access ethics support services.
  3. Promoting ethics education activities for healthcare providers to become ethics-informed and build strong inter-professional practices.
  4. Embedding organizational ethics into our daily practices.
  5. Enhancing research ethics to help guide us into the future.


We provide the following services:

  1. Confidential Ethics Consultations - are available for our patients, their families and our healthcare teams.  Please contact Dr. Alice Virani to schedule your consultation.
  2. Ethics Committees - meet each month at BC Children's Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children to examine complex ethical issues at both sites and act in an advisory role in the development and implementation of ethically based hospital policy.  If you are a staff member and would like to consult with one of our ethics committees, please contact our administration office to schedule a visit.
  3. Ethics for Lunch Education Series - provides the opportunity for our frontline healthcare professionals to examine key issues and build competencies in clinical ethics. These lunch hour sessions are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from September through to June in room D308 from 12:00pm - 1:00pm.  Please contact Laurie Stewart if you would like to be added to our listserve.
  4. Case of the Month - provides our healthcare teams with the opportunity to explore a variety of complex ethical issues and determine the best plan of treatment. 
  5. C&W Research Ethics Board (REB) - is a UBC-affiliated research ethics board responsible for the ethical review of:
    • Clinical and behavioural research projects conducted on the Oak Street campus.
    • Studies for which the principle investigator holds appointments with BC Women's & Children's which directly involves patients, records or resources of the Oak Street campus.

    • To contact the REB, please call (604) 875-3103
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Ethical Issues

  • Uncertainty or differing opinions about care plans
  • Questions about your child/youth's role in making health care decisions for themselves
  • Concerns about continuing, stopping or refusing treatment
  • End-of-life decisions
  • tensions related to values, religion or culture

In an ethics consult, we can:

  • Facilitate respectful discussions about health care questions and concerns; 
  • help people think through the values that are most important to them; 
  • support people to reach decisions that are right for them and their loved ones; 
  • keep information confidential; and 
  • support people in talking with their health care teams.

Call us to make an appointment for an ethics consultation.

Our team

Alice Virani, PhD
Director, PHSA Ethics

Nina Preto, PhD
Clinical Ethicist, PHSA Ethics

Alexandra Olmos Perez, PhD
Clinical Ethicist, PHSA Ethics
604-875-2345 Ext. 4400

Administrative Office
604-875-2345 ext. 4029

SOURCE: Clinical Ethics ( )
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