End Of Life Care Dilemma Essay

1701 Words May 29th, 2015 7 Pages
End of life care dilemma: a case study

Nurses encounter various decision-making in daily practice, these decisions are intricately linked to patients’ and family members’ values or beliefs that coupled with emotional burdens in end-of-life care (Quinn et al. 2012; Gallagher et al. 2015). Legal and ethical issues often arise when the patient is incompetent as well as when the surrogate decision maker is unclear (Torke, Alexander & Lantos 2008). In this case, Lewis, who was admitted to the hospital for colostomy, followed by a dramatic physical deterioration, became incapable. The decisions on Lewis’s end-of-life treatment between Lisa, Lewis’s new partner, and Lewis’s two daughters are contradictory to each other’s. In this particular scenario, who should make Lewis’s end-of-life decision? Should Lewis’s wishes be honoured? What could be done to avoid such situations? This paper examines Lewis’s case from legal and ethical perspectives respectively, and discusses the key elements in decision-making in respect to this case, which may also shed light on similar situations to reduce the moral distress for nurses.

From the legal perspective, competent patients are given informed consent which is a legal requirement for medical intervention. (Atkins, Britton & De Lacey 2011). However, in Lewis’s case, as his illness progressed, urinary output decreased, mentally, he became confused, which ultimately led to incompetency for decision-making. In the situation when the patient…

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