Ethics Committee Case Studies

Hospice of the Comforter Ethics Committee

Hospice of the Comforter's Ethics Committee functions as an advisory and educational resource. Its goal is to be a helpful forum for staff and others to process difficult end-of-life ethical issues facing patients, families and our hospice.
The committee has a three-fold purpose:

  1. Education: to educate staff, patients and families concerning end-of-life issues.
  2. Policy development and review: to advise hospice in the review and development of policies related to ethical realities.
  3. Case review: to provide consultation and options concerning complex ethical cases.

The HOTC Board of Directors authorizes the formation of the Ethics Committee. The board will appoint a chairperson and vice chairperson of the committee.  A summary of ethical concerns will be presented to the board at least quarterly. The committee meets at least six times per year on a bimonthly basis. Ad hoc meetings can also be called as needed to respond to immediate needs. 

Membership in the committee is granted by the appointed officers of the committee.  Members participate with no limits on the term of service. The normal attrition of members will provide sufficient opportunity for new members.

Committee members, patients, families and staff are encouraged to submit cases or issues for discussion and feedback. They are also invited to attend the meetings and to enter into discussion. For more information, call 407-682-0808 or write to:
Hospice of the Comforter
Attn: Ethics Committee
480 W. Central Parkway
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

Current Members of the Hospice of the Comforter Ethics Committee:

  • George Colombo (vice chairperson/family member)
  • Sandra Warshow (HOTC social worker)
  • Michael Lawhorn (HOTC chaplain)
  • Ernesto Lopez (HOTC administration)
  • Jennifer Brown (HOTC administration)
  • Eric Moore (HOTC medical community)
  • Jeff White (HOTC compliance officer)
  • Bonnie Hannah (HOTC Board)
  • Helen Baker (family member)
  • Sandy Graves (community)

Muslim Teaching and Family Case

By: Hospice of the Comforter Ethics Committee
Source: Hospice of the Comforter
Date: February 12, 2013
Members of a hospice team presented a case of a Muslim patient, whose family was keeping him from knowledge of his terminal status. The patient was asking, “why am I getting weaker and no one is telling me anything?” The case involved the ethical principles of the autonomy of the family and the veracity of the hospice team. The family asked hospice staff not to let him know that he was dying. The team was informed that the family wanted their father to ask for the forgiveness of God before he knows that he is dying. According to their understanding of Muslim teaching a person can only be forgiven if one seeks forgiveness before knowing about the imminence of death.

Case of Patient without Family and with HIV

By: Hospice of the Comforter Ethics Committee
Source: Hospice of the Comforter
Date: February 12, 2013
Two hospice social workers presented the case of a patient with a recorded history of HIV disease, bipolar disorder and other medical issues. His hospice diagnosis is end stage HIV. He has no family, and upon admission into hospice was no longer able to adequately care for himself, as he was living alone. The case presenters requested that the ethics committee reflect on this case in light of questions of his autonomy and the pursuit of his “best interests” for end-of-life care and appropriate placement.
Case of Patient without Family and with HIV


24/7 Patient Support: (407) 379-0311
480 W. Central Parkway, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714