Tag Archives: Bioethics Conflicts

Waiting for medical records “after discharge” is of no help for decision making Autonomy

Medical records: Waiting for medical records “after discharge” is of no help.  Reviewing medical records  in the hospital allows the patient and/or a surrogate decision maker to obtain the greatest amount of information possible over the cross section of medical specialties providing care.  It provides a clear picture of the condition of the patient with respect to cognition, pain and prognosis. Review of reports of CT scans, x-rays, and MRI’s can bring a clear picture of improvement and deterioration in the patient’s condition. All of this will ensure that consent is based upon complete information and make it easier for…

Autonomy: the Basis of Respect and Dignity Abandonment

“Be a good girl and take your medicine.” Part 1 This statement was made to a 60 year old end stage leukemia patient who demanded to be discharged from the hospital. The patient refused the prescribed medications.  No attempt was made to discuss the risks attendant in not taking the prescribed medication. The patient was cogent and articulate – able to make medical decisions for herself. The physician walked out of the patient’s room in the ICU. No social worker, bioethicist had been called to assist. Patient Jane was merely told, “Be a good girl and take your medicine.” What…

Nanotechnology: Who does the EPA Serve? Nanotechnology

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently heard oral argument in the case of NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL,( NRDC), vs. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Case# 12-70268, regarding the EPA’s conditional approval of a nano-silver product made by a Swiss company HeiQ Materials. The Amicus briefs describe it as: “ the EPA’s unprecedented decision to conditionally register the nano-silver pesticide products HeiQ AGS-20 …as unsupported by substantial evidence. EPA has failed to show that the conditional registration will not cause any unreasonable adverse effect” on human health and the environment. The limited studies to this point have raised significant red flags about…

Withdrawing Life Sustaing Treatment – Termial Extubation: Hassan Rasouli Part II Terminal Extubation

 Hassan Rasouli, previously diagnosed as being in a permanent vegetative state, has now been diagnosed to be in a minimally conscious state. The reason for the change – his physicians noted that he is able to give a thumbs-up when asked by his wife and able to track with his eyes. His physicians are Drs. Brian Cuthbertson and Gordon Rubenfeld, two critical care specialists at Sunnybrook Health Science Center in Toronto Canada, one of the largest trauma centers in Canada, who have petitioned the Canadian Supreme Court for the authority to withholding life sustaining treatment without the consent or approval…

Withdrawing Life Sustaing Treatment – End of Life Care: the Doctor-Patient Relationship A Refusal to Communicate Clinical Bioethics

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published an article entitled: “ The Palliative Care Information Act in Real Life,” (NEJM 364;No.20 May 2011), regarding a New York statute that requires a physician to have discussions of end of life treatment options with the patient when the patient is “terminally ill.” Alan Astrow MD and Beth Popp, MD, the authors of the article, are troubled by the phrase terminal illness. They argue that the definition in the statute is vague and an improper interference with the physician-patient relationship. The fact that they find the phrase, “terminal illness” troublesome, is troublesome. The…

Rationing “scarce medical resources” and lying to the patient – do these go hand in hand? Clinical Bioethics

Rationing “scarce medical resources” and lying to the patient – do these go hand in hand? 7 comments Claudia Ruiz M.D • I don’t think so, I’m from Mexico, and I have worked plenty with the mayan communities, they really don’t have any acces to medicines o medical attention. We did our best to get them what they need, but sometimes it is impossible. Anyways, I never lie to my patients, they deserve to know the truth always. Maybe it is a different situation in the United States and the HMOs, but in principle, I don’t think it is ethical…

Clinical Bioethics – Rationing – the Ethics of Lying to the Patient – Part I Clinical Bioethics

Rationing : Withholding Medical Care by Lying to the Patient Rationing of medical care and “triage” are different. Triage prioritizes the use of limited medical resources when resources are insufficient for immediate treatment.  Rationing is the withholding of available care for political/economic reasons. With respect to rationing, therefore, it must be decided whether or not the patient is going to be told the truth. The requirement of informed consent cannot cease to exist because of political/economic policy. Nevertheless the degree of informed consent may vary with the degree and type of risk. Informed consent for a blood pressure medication may…

Survival in Hospital Cardiac Arrest – Challenges for Hospitalists Bioethics Conflicts

The September 2010 publication of “The Hospitalist” reviews the overall survival rates for cardiac arrest patients. This article reports that patients frequently have unrealistic expectations and overestimate their chances of survival. Patients predict post-arrest CPR survival at 64%, while the rate is 17%. Most important is that in nearly half of the patients who initially expressed the desire for CPR, once they were informed of the actual estimates, they changed their minds and code status was changed. It is difficult for many hospitalists to discuss DNR orders with patients. There is not a trusting relationship formed over time. Therefore it is…

Letting the Conscious Non-Terminal, Incompetent, Patient Die: Hold On a Minute – Not So Fast – Part I Withdrawal/Withholding of Care

It is an injustice to cause patients to unnecessarily prolong the process of dying. Actual futile care must be avoided. But it is equally an injustice to easily acquiesce to patient’s demands that my result in unnecessary death. On August 17, 2010 the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania decided a case involving a non-terminal, profoundly mentally retarded patient. The patient was conscious and non-terminal. David is 53 years old. David’s parents were the guardians. His parents argued that putting him on the ventilator was not in his best interest and requested terminal extubation. The hospital refused. After several weeks his condition…

Withdrawing Life Sustaing Treatment – Betancourt v Trinitas – Appellate Court Decision Bioethics Conflicts

The New Jersey Superior Court–Appellate Division dismissed the appeal in Betancourt v Trinitas finding the appeal moot. The court stressed it’s concern over the  “sparse record” presented at the time of  the original hearing in the trial court as well as on appeal and found that the evidence was not “conclusive in several areas necessary to fully adjudicate the substantial issues raised.” This is sometimes referred to as insufficiency of evidence. If the person or entity bringing the case does not provide sufficient evidence the court will dismiss the claim. In this case Tinitas Hospital’s request to withdraw the ventilator….