This essay describes a student nurse's experience of caring for someone in I.T.U. and the Law, Ethics and Therapeutic Use of Self issues related to this experience.

Essay by gsteedUniversity, Bachelor's August 2003

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The Incident

The incident that I have chosen involved caring for a 76 year old critically ill patient, (who I am calling Mr Jones) who had suffered from respiratory failure, which led to a build up fluid in the lungs and caused pneumonia. The infection spread from his lungs to contaminate his blood causing sepsis, which poisoned the kidneys and lead to renal failure. In addition to this Mr Jones may have possible brain damage due to a hypoxic event when he did not get adequate supply of oxygen. He is unable to communicate due to his unconscious state and a endotracheal tube, which is enabling him to breathe.

The future does not look good for him; he has long standing problems with little chance of recovery. The hospital staff may be able to prolong his life but the quality of it would be in question if he has to endure the care that would be necessary to look after him.

Mr Jones's relatives have been contacted and have no record of any will of any kind, no one seems to know what he would want the hospital staff to do for him, give him every possible chance to live but prolonged the agony of fighting to live and the pain involved or allow nature to take it's course and withdraw treatment and keeping him pain free. Talking to the relatives of Mr Jones to get some idea of what he might have wanted may be the only way of knowing

The essential factors that have contributed to this experience are

*The fact that Mr. Jones is unlikely to live much longer

*Mr. Jones is unable to speak

*He has left no will to convey his wishes in this given situation.

*If the hospital staff does try to...