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 …show more content…
Each case of what should be done involves differing perspectives, and this paper will offer an analysis of this particular ethical dilemma using …show more content…
We want to make every effort to save you.’ I found that she was tearing up. So seemed like she understood what I said but cannot talk. We wanted to make every effort but couldn’t find any way to help. It was very hard to feel that helpless.” Thinking back on it, John admitted that though it was a very tough decision, he has no regrets. In this narrative concerning end-of-life care for a highly disabled elderly woman whose health is declining quickly, three options were considered and debated: artificial nutrition and hydration through a feeding tube in the ICU, continuation of manual feeding, and cessation of manual feeding. The central ethical dilemma raised questions about the permissibility of letting die and what the most moral method of doing so would be. Each clinical option has its own compelling moral argument in support of it, and analysis of the soundness of each argument’s premises will determine the one most persuasive.
The first argument is in support of placing the patient in the ICU to be given artificial feeding through a tube, and an ethical argument for this situation is outlined as follows:
[A1] Patient X is a sentient person.
[A2] It is morally impermissible to deny life-saving treatment to a sentient person if the treatment would benefit the person.
[A3] It is morally permissible to forgo medical treatment if it provides no benefit to the patient,