Ethics at End of Life

In this week’s assigned content, we listen to a podcast detailing the story of a family who was forced to make a difficult end-of-life decision.
The decision to withdraw care, especially in cases of chronic or debilitating illness or injury, is one of the most problematic ethical dilemmas many of us will ever face. As respiratory therapists, we are often involved with patients who may be at the end of life stage and are often confided in by the friends and family of the patients to which we provide care. We must prepare to encounter these situations by considering our own moral position regarding issues such as advance directives, withdrawal of life-supporting therapies, and the meaning of “death with dignity”.
After listening to “Blink Once for Yes” respond to at least three of the following prompts.
What are the ethical issues at play? How would the perspectives you have researched view this dilemma?
How do the concepts of advanced directives impact this case?
Did Mike have patient advocates? If so, who were they and how did they advocate for Mike. Would you have done the same?
What are the legal implications? Do you agree with the legal requirements the family had to operate under? Why or why not? What are the laws in your state?
Ultimately, do you feel that the correct decision was made?

Please review the supplementary resources in this folder to help you gain additional insight into end-of-life issues that you may be facing in your career.

Read: Chapters 16 Moral Conflicts in end-of-life care & 18 Aid in dying, in your Moskop (2016) textbook.

Review: States with Legal Physician-Assisted Suicide and examine your state’s laws regarding euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Article: Oregon end residency rule for medically assisted suicide.

Article: Is there such a thing as a life not worth living?

Article: Caring for Patients Nearing the End of Life: How RTs can Help.

ATS Policy Statement: Palliative Care for Patients with Respiratory Diseases and Critical Illnesses

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