Search Virginia Mason News

Gary S. Kaplan, MD
Laura Webster

SEATTLE — (Jan. 17, 2019) — Laura Webster, director, Virginia Mason Bioethics, has been certified as a health care ethics consultant by the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH).

She is among the first individuals to complete the new certification program. The Health Care Ethics Consultant Certification Commission was established by the ASBH in November 2018 to set a national standard for the professional practice of clinical health care ethics consultation.

A bioethicist, who is often also called a clinical ethicist or medical ethicist, is a health care professional with special training to guide patients, their families and medical teams in resolving issues. “Our primary purpose is to help people think through difficult situations, identify all ethically permissible options and make ethically informed decisions,” Webster said.

A registered nurse who also holds a doctorate degree in bioethics, she has been with Virginia Mason since 2014. She is a former emergency room and intensive care unit nurse at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and co-instructor in the Department of Bioethics & Humanities at the University of Washington's School of Medicine.

Patients and their families can request a bioethics consultation at Virginia Mason by calling (206) 223-6600 or emailing

About Virginia Mason Health System Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; outpatient medical facilities and services in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Edmonds, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; Virginia Mason Foundation; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management method for improving quality and safety.

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Virginia Mason Memorial, a 226-bed hospital serving Yakima Valley in central Washington since 1950. Virginia Mason Memorial includes primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care; cancer care through North Star Lodge; breast health at `Ohana Mammography Center; acute hospice and respite care at Cottage in the Meadow; pain management at Water’s Edge; an advanced NICU unit that offers specialty care for at-risk infants; advanced services for children with special health care needs at Children’s Village; and The Memorial Foundation.

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509



Back to Search