Case Study Analysis-Chapter 7

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Case Study Analysis-Chapter 7

This chapter deals with the ethics concerned with death and dying. It highlights several important issues that affect the caregiver and the patient. Of concern is determining the right time to stop a patient’s treatment. The chapter deals with most of the controversial aspects concerning death, especially physician assisted suicide and what to do when one has a patient in a vegetative state. The chapter examines the concept of suicide, when concerned with refusal of treatment. It notes that there is passive and active suicide and people do not agree on the acceptance of any form of suicide. The chapter discusses the ethical issues that patients face when they are dying, and the dilemma facing their families and caregivers. An important ethical concern involves determining the right to life. It discusses the ethics of suicide, especially in the patients’ decision to stop or refuse treatment, if he or she is going to die. It also discusses the ethics of the surrogate, in making the decision concerning their loved one’s treatment in critical cases. The chapter deals with the ethical issue of discontinuing treatment, and distinguishes this from neglect by the caregivers. Other ethical issues concern discontinuing hydration and nutrition of the patient when using artificial methods, refusal of treatment by patients who are not terminally ill, and withdrawing antibiotics Santos’ wife realizes that the tubes are the only thing keeping her husband alive. Removing the tubes would mean imminent death for her husband. Doctors face conflict of obligations. In this sense, the doctor is concerned about the best interest of his patient. Considering Santos’ health condition, it would be in the best interest of the patient to remove the tubes and end his suffering. Continuing with the feeding might keep the patient alive for a long time, but it will be a painful life for him considering his sickness. On the other hand, the doctor has to consider the wife’s decision. Failure to do so might result to the doctor facing legal consequences. As a doctor, I would have to inform the couple of all the possible implications of their decision. The wife has to realize that Santos will have a hard and difficult life, feeding of the tubes. This is complicated by the fact that Santos has diabetes, which requires specialized diet. In the current situation, it has become impossible to control the diabetes. Santos’ wife does not understand the discomfort and pain that her husband is going through while feeding through his neck. I would advice the wife to go along with her husband’s decision, because there is little chance that the procedure will be effective. There are no alternative treatments or therapies for Santos’ condition. If there were, I would first inform Santos and his wife, and perhaps Santos would reconsider his decision. The only benefit that Santos has is that he will be physically present with his family, although with the diabetes, it is not possible to determine how long he will be with them, since he might go into a diabetic comma at any time. On the other hand, the family has to carry a lot of burden, taking care of Santos. They will use much of their resources in his treatment leaving them with nothing. It is likely that Santos will be in a vegetative state considering the health problems he has. The family should take advantage of the time, when he is still healthy to be with the patient, and take care of him. Removing the tubes does not constitute neglect since the family will take care of him in other ways. The most obvious statement supporting physician-assisted suicide is, “But it may also be within my power to take a life, this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.” This statement recognizes the physician’s role in determining the patients’ death. It recognizes the action as an awesome responsibility. This statement in the oath recognizes the power that physicians have over their patients’ life, and they can use this power to influence the patients’ decision. It is in contrast to the original version of the oath, which denies any form of physician assisted death. The original version of the oath makes it impossible for the physician to assist the patient. It states that the physician will “neither give a deadly drug to anyone who asks for it nor make a suggestion to this effect.” It disregards the patients consent in asking for their death.


Garrett, T. M., Baillie, H. W., & Garrett, R. M. (2010). Health care ethics: Principles and problems. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.


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