Division of Medical Ethics - For professionals

Division of Medical Ethics - For professionals


The Division of Medical Ethics was created in 2011 in the Department of Medicine to build upon the health system’s successful track record and commitment to incorporate bioethics into clinical practice and physician education. The Division Chief is Dr. Samuel Packer who also is Chair of the Ethics Committees at North Shore University Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center and Cohen Children’s Medical Center. The Ethics Consult Service functions as an arm of the Ethics Committee and is led by Renée McLeod-Sordjan, and the Medical Ethics Attending staff:  Frederick Smith, Mitchell Adler and William Doscher. In addition, we have an Ethics Fellowship Program and significant responsibilities for professionalism education at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. Our focus is clinical medical ethics, both in practice and in education.

Clinical services

The division provides clinical bioethics consultation service to five hospitals in the health system (North Shore University Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Cohen Children's Medical Center, Nassau University Medical Center and Zucker Hillside Hospital) and its nursing home, A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility. The faculty conducted over 110 consultations in 2014. The faculty are dedicated to providing consultation services to all healthcare providers, patients, or family members who have questions and concerns about their care.


Ethics Committee within the Northwell Health
The Ethics Committee at Northwell Health is always available to patients, families, and staff members for assistance or  advice when ethical issues relating to patient care arise.

Ethics Consultation
An ethics consult is a process whereby clinicians meet with patients, family members and/or members of the healthcare team to address ethical concerns or  conflicts.

To request an Ethics Consult
Any patient, family member or hospital staff member can request an Ethics Consult. To arrange a consult, call the consult line at (516) 470-5841

Problems for which an Ethics Consultation May Be Helpful

  • Advance directives or surrogate decision making
  • Deciding whether to stop treatment
  • Conflicts with caregivers or loved ones
  • Decisions about cardio-pulmonary resuscitation

These are just examples. If you are unsure whether an ethics  consultation is appropriate, please call to discuss it with us. We will help  you understand how best to proceed. Even if we decide together that an ethics  consultation is not appropriate at this time, we can help put you in touch with  the appropriate resources to address your concerns.

An Ethics Consult:

  • Clarifies the nature of the ethical question
  • Promotes discussion of ethical standards and responsibilities related to patient care
  • Encourage shared decision making among patients, families and the healthcare team
  • Makes impartial recommendations to those involved
  • Promotes interdisciplinary mediation of difficult decisions in chronic illness

Ethics Committee Recommendations
The Committee recommendations are advisory - the patient and medical team can decide whether to follow the recommendations or not. However, we hope that our recommendations will be helpful in reaching a decision that feels right for everyone and assists patients in making choices that are as true as possible to their authentic values.


Samuel Packer, MD

  • Chairman Emeritus of Ophthalmology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
  • Chief of Division - Medical Ethics of Ophthalmology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
  • Chief of Division - Medical Ethics - Dept of Pediatrics of Ophthalmology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
  • Chairman Emeritus of Ophthalmology, North Shore University Hospital
  • Director - Director of Eye Surgery Center of Surgery - Ophthalmology, Syosset Hospital
  • Professor, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine
  • view full profile

Learn more about the Department of Medicine

Fellowship in Medical Ethics