SCI 405 Week 7
This week, we are going to return to the topic of death. The first time we spoke about this topic, we explored physician assisted suicide. This week, we are going to look at how we make decisions for those who can no longer decide for themselves.
Read Chapter 2 and 13 and at least ONE of the other cases that involve individuals who are in comas or who are mentally ill or elderly and incompetent (unable to make decisions for themselves).
Take the viewpoint of Society or Government or Families or Individuals and discuss the rights, responsibilities and bioethics involved in discontinuing life sustaining treatment at the end of life.
Please use source: Book: Medical Ethics – Accounts of Ground Breaking cases, 6 Edition. by Gregory E. Pence
Respond to the other 2 students with your own opinion and comments 2-3 sentences each:
I am completely by the way Terry’s parents went full force in appeals to keep their vegetated daughter alive. She didn’t have a proxy and her husband was appointed guardian with good reason. Not one single appointed guardian found that he was doing all the right and proper things regarding her care. As her husband he had every right to request the tube be removes when the doctors said there is zero chance of improvement. I would do the same in his position. I do not have a living will or a proxy as of yet, but it sure is on my to do list. I belived that the parents although for the most part mean well and can’t fathom the idea of losing a child, if they are emacipated and married they really have no say. Now if the husband or guardian was found to be doing wrong by the person in vegetated state then I would concede that the parents be appointed as guardians.
I do believe that the courts have the power to ensure the patient have someone who will do what is right and in the patients best interest regardless of inner feelings. It is very important that you put your feelings aside and think on behalf of the patient. Thus in this case twice the court appointed an additional guardian to oversee the husband and give the court their impartial statement regarding the patient. One of them was even a doctor as well as an attorney. I feel judge Greer did the right thing and ex-govenor Jeb Bush should have never gotten involved. I also agree that "terry’s law" was unconstitutional and am glad the judge presiding was smart enough to kill it and make it go away.
At the end of the day, a person who is in a vegetated state with no hope of improvement should have the right to be unplugged by the guardian so long it is in the patients best interest, otherwise I feel i would be inhumane to do it for selfish reasons , like inheritance or such things. People should cast themselves aside no matter how much it hurts and help the patient die gracefully and rightfully.
Karen Quinlan became comatose from drinking alcohol after taking either barbiturates or benzodiazepines, or both. Karen had also been dieting, and at admission, weighed only 115 pounds. Karen lost her brain from a synergistic reaction of barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and alcohol taken on an empty stomach. These drugs suppressed her breathing, caused loss of oxygen to her brain, and after 30 minutes, destroyed her higher brain. In the fall of 1975, the Quinlans decided that Karen would never regain consciousness, so they decided to remove the ventilator and let Karen’s body die. In April 1976, four months after the higher-court decision, a ventilator helped Karen Quinlan’s body breathe. In the Quinlan case, like the later Cruzan and Schiavo cases, it was unclear whether these women had really expressed a wish not to have their lives prolonged or whether the families just wished it so.Physicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) in 2009 became a legally recognized document, similar to the widely used "do not resuscitate" (DNR) orders. POLST used for patients with a serious illness or whose life expectancy is a year or less, outlines a plan of care reflecting the patient’s wishes concerning medical treatment and interventions at life’s end. POLST encourages communication between physicians, patients, and others members of the health care team, facilities informed decision making and promotes accurate communication of patient wishes and physician orders across treatment settings and among healthcare providers. A physician will consider the values and preferences you express, as well as your medical condition and the effectiveness of available treatment options, in filling out the POLST form. Once signed, the POLST form contains valid medical orders that can be put into action when needed. The POLST form allows you and your physician to specify your preferences regarding the following: Resuscitation (commonly known as CPR) or DO NOT Resuscitate (DNR) POLST establishes a uniform system and easily identifiable means of communicating end-of-life treatment wishes to health care providers in any treatment setting.