Winnipeg ethicists recognized nationally

Winnipeg health care ethicists Pat Murphy and George C. Webster have received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada (CHAC). The award honours individuals who have inspired and mentored others in Catholic health care and whose accomplishments, over the course of a career, have strengthened the Catholic health ministry.

Murphy and Webster work out of St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg but offer their services to a wide range of organizations within the Catholic Health Corporation of Manitoba (CHCM) and have had an enormous impact on an entire community, says CHAC Chair and CHCM CEO Daniel Lussier.

“For the past 16 years Pat and George have developed a unique team approach to their work within the Health Care Ethics Service at St. Boniface Hospital. These are two incredibly compassionate, dedicated and engaged people who every day make peoples’ lives easier during very difficult times.”

“Making complex health care decisions are not easy for families or hospital staff, but Murphy and Webster have dedicated years helping people navigate those waters,” says Dr. Michel Tétreault, President and CEO, St. Boniface Hospital. “ Ethical issues can arise, for instance, when a person is no longer able to make decisions or choices; when the benefits of continuing treatment are not clear; or when there is conflict about what is “best” in a given situation. As ethicists Murphy and Webster assist patients, families and health care providers identify, clarify and work through ethical concerns. We are very fortunate to have such compassionate and knowledgeable people available to our community of patients and caregivers.”

St. Boniface Hospital and the Grey Nuns of Manitoba jointly established the Health Care Ethics Service at St. Boniface in 1993, under the leadership of Pat Murphy.. She has devoted more than 20 years working as a clinical ethicist providing ethics consultation, education, policy review and development for 14 health care and social service facilities affiliated with the Catholic Health Corporation of Manitoba. Murphy has given much of her time to various board, university and community organizations, and has served on numerous local, provincial, regional and national committees, including the National Research Council of Canada, Winnipeg Research Ethics Board and the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Medicine Health Research Ethics Board.  She was also a member of the CHAC national committee responsible for the revision of the Health Ethics Guide, which was published in 2012.

Prior to joining the ethics service at St. Boniface Hospital in 1997, George C. Webster worked for 14 years with the Ethics Service at St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, and Providence Centre in Toronto. This was the first full-time hospital-based ethics service in Canada. Webster has worked on numerous provincial, regional and national ethics committees, including the National Research Council and Health Canada. He has also served as a member of the Standing Committee on Ethics, a permanent advisory committee of the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He was the recipient of the Canadian Bioethics Society Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

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