Tag Archives: Withdrawal/Withholding of Care

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…

A Staged Approach to Withdrawing Life Support Withdrawal/Withholding of Care

A South Korean Ethics Committee uses a staged approach to Withdrawing Life Support In follow up to this blog’s April 23, 2009 post: “Letting the Conscious But Incompetent, Non Terminally Ill, Patient Die.” A South Korean hospital used a staged approach to consider the withdrawal of artificial life support based upon the condition of the patient. On June 11, 2009 an Ethics Committee at the Yonsei University Severance Hospital in Seoul Korea decided to remove a 77-year-old woman in a vegetative state from a respirator in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling.  Severance Hospital President Park Chang-il said:     “Though we…

Daniel Hauser – and Medical Confidentiality Dilemmas in Clinical Bioethics

I agree with the court’s rulings in the case of Daniel Hauser, highlighted in the media recently. In this case there is as absolute need to continue chemotherapy. It should however be pointed out that the Court ignored Mrs. Hauser’s demand for confidentiality and contributed to this case becoming a spectacle in the media and making Mrs. Hauser the focus of overwhelming media attention, pitting her beliefs against most of the country’s. This injudicious conduct may have contributed to the panic of the mother to leave the jurisdiction and hide herself and her son. The legal issues in this case…

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….

Family Dilemmas in End of Life Care – Withdrawal of Artificial Nutrition and Hydration Withdrawal/Withholding of Care

The patient, Larry M, is a man in his 40s with a wife and three children at his bedside. He is in end stage liver cancer. He has been receiving total parenteral nutrition and IV fluids and has now decided to have his feeding tube and IV fluids withdrawn and to then return home with his wife and children, and with the assistance of hospice, die as comfortably as possible. The patient feels that this is be best for him and helpful to his wife and children to go through this process with him. His physicians fully support this decision….

Genetic Bastards: The Moral Status and Human Worth of Persons Born By In-Vitro Fertilization Reproductive Technololoy

The Vatican and the 2004 President’s Council On Bioethics establishes a second class group of persons who they deem less worthy of dignity and respect. On September 8, 2008, the Vatican issued a new statement on bioethics entitled “Dignitas Personae on certain bioethical questions.”  The Vatican’s paper updates church doctrine regarding the ethics and morality of individuals and the duties and authority of physicians in using in-vitro fertilization (IVF).  The Vatican has always demanded absolute and unconditional recognition of the respect and dignity owed to all persons from the time of conception.  This does not apply to persons conceived by…

Hospital Ethics Committee Failure Autonomy

Being right does not make a decision morally correct. The patient, a 98 year old man was suffering from a dissecting aortic aneurysm of 7.5 cm. He was unresponsive and near death. He previously, and with unquestioned capacity, executed an advance health directive indicating that he refused surgery. He also had previously told his physician that he would rather die than to face the probable mental and physical damage and quality of life deterioration that would accompany such damage.  Without question, principles of clinical bioethics would demand respect for the patient’s wishes and directives. In this instance, the patient’s spouse…

The Need for Transparency when Withholding or Withdrawing Life Sustaining Treatment Withdrawal/Withholding of Care

    The salient ethical and moral principle applicable to physicians’ responsibilities in following a patient’s rejection of artificial life sustaining treatment is the transparency of the conduct of all physicians, medical staff and fundamental understanding by the family and or friends as to what is being done and how it is being done.     It must be kept in mind that the distinguishing factor between terminal withdrawal or withholding of artificial life sustaining treatment and euthanasia is the patient’s rejection of treatment, either directly or through a properly informed surrogate, of artificial life sustaining treatment. Unambiguous documentation must set forth…