Ethics in Medicine : the Relationship Between Law and Medical Ethics:
Dispute and Legal Issues:
A 32 year old woman was admitted to the Trauma Intensive Care Unit following a motor vehicle accident; she had multiple injuries and fractures, with several complications which continued to develop over the first couple of weeks. The patient rapidly developed Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome, was on a ventilator, and was continuously sedated. Shortly after the patient's admission, her parents were contacted and remained vigilant at her bedside. The parents reported that the patient was one month away from having her divorce finalized. The patient's husband was reportedly physically and emotionally abusive to her …show more content…
Thus, if a medical emergency exists and implied consent is relied on by the healthcare providers, it should be documented in the patient's medical record in accordance with legal and institutional standards.
• The patient may have provided her own consent to treatment either at the time of her admission or earlier in her hospitalization. At that time, she may have expressed her ongoing wishes for care. The patient's own previous statements/consent may therefore be the basis for continued consent for her ongoing care. Also, it is important to note that neither the law nor institutional policy sets an explicit time limitation on implied consent based on an "emergency."
• If there is a need for informed consent for a new treatment decision on behalf of the patient, the patient's previously expressed wishes may still be relevant to her legally authorized surrogate decision-maker and her treatment plan. How was the matter resolved? Do you agree with the findings?
• If the patient already filed for divorce, it is likely that there is a temporary court order in effect and this order may affirmatively remove the patient's estranged husband from making medical decisions for her. Also, it is common in divorce paperwork to have mutual restraining