Life or Death Who has the Right to Make the Choice

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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The physician is informed of her decision and assists the mother in signing the appropriate paperwork. The patient soon confronts the physician and makes him promise to stick to the DNR order no matter what his condition, the physician agrees. Shortly after the DNR is completed and all other appropriate paperwork are in order, the patient goes into respiratory arrest. All the parties involved in this situation are present when the respiratory arrest occurs. The physician stands by will all intentions of honoring the DNR but within 30 seconds of the arrest, the mother orders the physician to intubate. The physician looks to the patient as he shakes his head indicating that he does not want to be intubated, the physician also is aware that the patient will be 18 years old in three weeks.

Ethical Dilemma Initially it appears as if the dilemma revolves around what the physicians next move should be.

When actually the real dilemma is who owns the rights to make this life or death decision. It is clear what the patient wants for his course of treatment. It is equally clear what his mother will allow his treatment to be. Each have equally selfish reasons for wanting their decision to be upheld. The mother does not want to lose her son and will at all costs keep him alive. She feels he is romanticizing death and has no real concept of what dying means. Her son lived with cystic fibrosis since age four and has seen many of his friends placed on ventilators only to later die. He does not want that quality of life in his final days. The physician is supportive of the patients request but is placed in an awkward legal position if he abides by the patients request. The nurse who...