Essay about An Ethical Case Study On End Of Life Care

2332 Words Sep 29th, 2016 10 Pages
To Feed or Not to Feed: An Ethical Case Study on End of Life Care
Before the advancement of medical technology to prolong the lives of patients with lethal conditions, end-of-life care did not involve many discussions of ethics or morals. Even just a hundred years ago, it was common to speak of letting nature run its course. Today, patients and their relatives have many more options to utilize medical devices in hospital intensive care units to prolong life, whether that entails resuscitation, ventilation, or artificial feeding and hydration. As Alan Meisel, director of the Center for Bioethics and Health Law at the University of Pittsburgh, notes, “While the fact of death remains inevitable, its timing is often very much a function of human agency.” The issue of end-of-life care affects almost all people as our bodies naturally weaken due to old age, and thus, the debate surrounding controversial applications of end-of-life care is especially relevant. Of the 2.5 million deaths in the United States each year, almost 70 percent of these people spent the last moments of their lives in a hospital, nursing home, or hospice care. In these settings, there are many options available to patients regarding which treatments to pursue or withhold (Meisel 51). In the following narrative about a highly debilitated elderly woman who suffered from two strokes, the ethical dilemma surrounding her end-of-life care offers multiple clinical paths of treatment—or lack thereof. Each case of…

Related Documents