Ethical and Legal Dilemma in the case study
According to the case study, the son to the ailing woman seems to have the haste in his mother’s death to occur. Her state of the disease made her frustrated and lonely and that affected her eating habits. However, the son seems to decline the rate of his visits to the hospital which common. Most patients tend to be deserted by their family members when diagnosed with a terminal illness. David, the son to the ailing woman (Mrs. Greene) is demanding his mother’s desire to die to be carried out by the hospital. Mrs. Greene wish to die should be considered by the hospital instead of experiencing a prolonged pain without progress. Moreover, Mrs. Greene is suffering from age-related problems that cannot be reversed. Additionally, Mrs. Greene has the right to choose whether to die permitted by Death with Dignity Act. This Act gives terminally ill patients right to die. Thus, failure to carry out her wish could lead to lawsuits. However, the need for Mrs. Greene’s death is more demonstrated by the son and not the patient, which raises more dilemma.
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The patient’s right to die relates to this case because it allows terminally ill patients to choose a dignity death. Mrs. Greene desire to die is being expressed by his son in the case study. the patient’s response and character on failure to eat seems to correspond to the alleged claims by her son. Assuming that David did not force his mother to desiring death, the right to die should be respected by the hospital. However, investigation should be done to find out whether David is making claims that the mother has not requested. The hospital administrator should speak with the patient and assess her mental situation before making a decision of carryout out the claims. The right to die act states that the patient should be in her right mental status and should not be forced by a family member to request for early death.
Potential repercussions for failure to comply with the wishes of a patient
Treating one with dignity requires respecting all her choices and life-decisions. In the case study, the patient wish is assisted death. Lack to comply with patient wish to withhold the life-sustaining procedures may lead to lawsuits. The hospital will face the accusation on failure to respect the patient wishes. Moreover, the lawsuit will be based on the right to die that is accorded to all patients with terminal diseases. In addition, the failure to comply with the patient wish will destroy the reputation of the hospital. Also, the hospital would lose a lot of money in compensating for the family and the cost of lawsuits.
The hospital may face community demonstration against the procedures of the hospitals. Community demonstration against the operations of the hospital would lead to transfer of the in-patients and losing clients. This would reduce the profit of the hospital leading to failure of several procedures in hospital. The community has the power to allege that the hospital is neglecting patient’s care and it is denying them to make their medical decisions. These repercussions can be eliminated by respecting the wish of the patient. However, the wishes should be documented to eliminate possibility of other allegations.
The position of whether the patient right to die or the patient’s right to be protected from harm should take precedence in this case.
The patients’ right to die should not take precedence in this case. I take this position because there is no clear evidence that Mrs. Greene has requested for withdrawing of life sustaining procedures. The allegation of her wish were being demonstrated by her son who seems to have a negative relationship with the his mother. Investigations and enquirers should be done before respecting the death wish of Mrs. Greene. The committee should stop speculating on the possibilities and carry a deep research on whether Mrs. Greene has the will to access her right to die. The poor relationship between the son and the mother would be the cause of Mrs. Greene wish of death. However, if the relationship could be rectified, Mrs. Greene would show improvement in her food intake and behaviors toward medications.
However, the patient’s right to be protected from harm should take precedence in this case. David seems agitated by his mother’s condition. His visits to the hospital has been marked with shouting and change of attitude. This demonstrates that David would be compelled to harm his mother. The recorded cases of his shouting to her ailing mother and the change of behavior for Mrs. Greene after her son’s visit should be used to place a protection mechanism. More time should be given to understand David aggression on his mother’s rights to death to be used. I find David a threat to Mrs. Greene’s health. A protective procedure should be placed to keep the patient safe from her son’s need to harm her psychologically and physically.
Issues that the committee should consider
The committee seems to be focused on whether to comply with David’s request due to the threat of the lawsuit. Instead, the committee should be focused on finding the root of David’s claims. Since the mother can communicate and declare her wishes, the committee should pay the mother a visit. Moreover, the lawsuit threat should not cloud the committee’s focus on whether David is speaking the truth on behalf of the mother. The administrator had brought up David’s need to inherit his mother’s assets, which could be pushing him to quicken his mother’s death. Such allegation should be taken serious and investigated to finding the truth.
Also, the committee should access the file that the nurse taking care of Mrs. Greene have been taking records. The records will give the committee the lead on the right thing to focus on. Also, the nurse responsible for Mrs. Greene should be brought on board and give a detailed report on the progress of the patient. This committee may focus on deliberating on whether to withhold food for the patient when complying with David’s wish and not the patient’s wish. In these views, the committee should focus on finding out the actual wish of Mrs. Greene and stop relying on David’s report. Also, the aggressive need for Mrs. Greene’s death demonstrated by David should be checked and the root cause realized.
Resolving the Dilemma
The hospital should speak to Mrs. Greene and find out her wish on the treatment. The dilemma should be resolved by removing the doubts and working with the actual information. Mrs. Greene seemed okay without the visits of her son. David is tired on taking care of his mother, as his job is more demanding. Thus, a procedural investigation should be done to resolve the dilemma with actual information from Mrs. Greene and not David’s claims. The best interest of the patient should be considered while reducing the risk of legal and ethical complaints.
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Ethical and Legal Dilemma in the case study was first posted on July 4, 2020 at 4:23 pm.
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