Following a cerebral hemorrhage that left her with severe brain damage and ventilator dependency, a 72-year-old woman was admitted to the Neurological Intensive Care Unit. The patient and her husband had drafted “living wills” with an attorney a year before this event. Her treating physician determined that she was in a permanent state of unconsciousness. In the event of a permanent unconscious condition or terminal condition, the patient’s living will stated that he did not want ventilator support or other artificial life support.
The patient’s husband is her legal next of kin and the person with decision-making authority over her. When he was asked about the living will, he insisted that the patient had not intended for the document to be used in the current situation. Further discussion with him revealed that he was aware that the patient would not be able to recover any meaningful brain function, but he contended that the living will did not apply because her condition was not terminally ill. He went on to say that he did not believe his wife was permanently unconscious. The couple’s adult children, as well as their immediate family members, disagreed with their father’s refusal to withdraw life support.
The treatment team allowed a week to pass so that the husband could be supported in his grief and understand the gravity of his wife’s situation. Nonetheless, at the end of this period, the husband refused to authorize the withdrawal of life-sustaining measures in accordance with the patient’s wishes as expressed in her living will. That concludes the scenario.
Your paper should be divided into three major sections. Each is labeled with the numbers 1, 2, and 3. Questions to be discussed in light of the facts presented above. To support your discussion in discussion areas 2 and 3 below, you must weave relevant facts from the above scenario into your discussion. And for discussion area 3, you must incorporate the ethics philosophy you chose for each issue from the article A Framework for Thinking Ethically into your discussion. If you do not use appropriate underlined headings in your paper, you will receive a -5 percent penalty on the grading rubric.
1. Three Legal/Ethical Concerns Simply list the three most important legal/ethical issues that will be discussed in this scenario. They must be three distinct, separate, and distinct issues. Pay close attention to the article I provided with this assignment. There is no need for explanation; simply say 1, 2, 3.
2. Deliberation on Three Legal/Ethical Issues
Discuss the three most important ethical/legal issues you mentioned earlier. You must use the scenario’s relevant facts to support your discussion of the legal/ethical issues.
Underlined headings must be used below. The following are the headings:
First, state the legal/ethical issue, followed by a discussion.
2nd legal/ethical issue [state the issue] followed by discussion
3rd legal/ethical issue [state the issue] followed by discussion
Discuss each of the above legal/ethical issues.
a. Why is each of these a legal/ethical issue?
b. Discuss each issue in light of the scenario facts and figures.