What Broke My Father's Heart Summary

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November 13th, 2001 was the date that would change Jeffrey’s life forever. This retired Wesleyan University professor suffered a stroke that would make him incapable of completing a sentence. It was the day his autonomy was taken away from him, and all the decisions were put on his wife who was his power of attorney. As Jeffrey’s condition got worse, his wife made the life altering decision to place a pacemaker to keep her husband alive, and since that day she and her daughter have fought to end his suffering. The issue is whether to respect the power of attorneys autonomy and comply with the desire to deactivate the pacemaker or if it is beneficent to do so.
The article “What Broke my Father’s Heart” takes a hard look at the advances in modern medicine and the bitter sides of medical interventions that may elongate life, but may not always improve the quality of life. When Jeffrey suffered his stroke, his wife’s life became devastated; she would have to take care of her husband for the rest of her life. The wife found herself spending 80 hours a week taking care of her husband’s growing needs which affected her physically and emotionally. The pacemaker came into play
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Respect in this instance is referenced to the wife’s ability to act in a self-determined manner to be able to deactivate the husbands’ pacemaker and to end his suffering. In contrast, beneficence was referenced as a relieving of suffering, a deed of mercy and kindness to deactivate the pacemaker to Jeffrey’s best interest. However here we face an ethical dilemma of doctors refusing to respect the power of attorney’s autonomy due to their own medical moral code. Or, not viewing the patient as sick enough to be beneficent and end a patients

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