Tag Archives: Do Not Intubate

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 Sustaining 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….

Death Panels and Advanced Care Planning Autonomy

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, discusses the need for effective public health announcements to encourage people to explain their end of life wishes and their values, goals and preferences. It has been well established that physicians are reluctant to discuss end of life choices with their patients and the norm has been to put it off until the patient is in advanced terminal disease when it is, indeed, more difficult to discuss. Studies have also shown that the majority of patients said they would choose to forego futile care but few are presented…

The Near Future – maybe Clinical Bioethics

New Reform Medical Center Serving your Community since 2010   Agreement and Release   As you enter this Hospital you understand, acknowledge and agree that this hospital rations medical care and services. This means that the hospital and physicians can determine that you may not be entitled to certain medical treatment, even if it is of benefit to you. Your physicians and hospital may conclude that medical costs to the community outweigh the benefits of the otherwise beneficial medical treatment for you, if one or more of the following criteria exist: Age, (younger than 5 or older than 68); Mental…

Pay to Play – Cost Containment by Ethics Committees Articles

The Los Angeles Daily News, July 11, 2009, wrote, “One doctor, who chairs the Northridge Hospital Ethics Committee, did raise the important and relevant issue of excessive, costly, end-of-life care that has no potential for significantly extending life. If consumers had to pay a significant copayment, they might not demand unreasonable or unadvisable care." http://www.dailynews.com/editorial/ci_12817975 If this physician actually said this, of which I am doubtful, then it must be pointed out that a decision to terminate life sustaining treatment based on or informed by economic considerations is unethical and of great concern. Discussions of terminating life sustaining treatment must…

Life, for some in Texas, is Cheap Abandonment

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE CHAPTER 166.039. PROCEDURE WHEN PERSON HAS NOT EXECUTED OR ISSUED A DIRECTIVE AND IS INCOMPETENT OR INCAPABLE OF COMMUNICATION For the most vulnerable patients, without friends or family, life for some medical patients in Texas, is cheap.  On vague and specious grounds and without proper oversight or transparency, physicians may withdraw life sustaining treatment from a patient, even if the patient is conscious, talking, and aware of his or her surroundings. This statute allows this to occur if a physician treating the patient concludes that the patient will die within six months and there is no…

Letting the Conscious But Incompetent, Non Terminally Ill, Patient Die Withdrawal/Withholding of Care

It must not be too easy to withhold life sustaining treatment from any patient. When it comes to a conscious patient, who is not suffering from a terminal illness, we have to be unquestionably sure we know what we are doing.      A consulting physician contacted me expressing great concern that a 60 year old female patient who would likely die without surgery was being discharged. He said, “The patient is not terminal and is treatable. She needs surgery to survive – probably amputation of one or both lower extremities. The family wants her to be discharged home for…

Autonomy and Abandonment – Legal and Moral Implications Abandonment

Advance Health Directive: Patient has an advanced health directive, witnessed, notarized and in the format of a legal document done by his attorney, rejecting treatment if he has a terminal condition with the probability of death within a few months; and/or an irreversible condition requiring artificial life support. Patient’s daughter is designated as surrogate. The document is notarized. This 84 year old man is admitted for pneumonia; dementia; depression; anemia; malnutrition; renal failure, and hypernaturemia. History: Dysphasia, anorexia, ataxia, poor intake, altered level of consciousness, restless, hypotensive, shortness of breath, bilateral rales. He is unable to give any history himself….