Ethical Issues in Public Health
Case Study for Week 4
End of Life Case
Cynthia was on her way home from work one day, when a drunk driver hit her car and left her with severe brain damage. Although Cynthia was not in a coma after the accident, she was not able to speak, eat, drink or move. After 3 years, Cynthia’s husband Robert insisted that his wife be removed from all feeding tubes, as this was his wife’s wish. He stated that approximately 3 months before her accident, they both discussed what they would like to have done if they were being sustained by artificial means, and Robert said his wife mentioned how, “this is not how she would have wanted things.” He added that he was trying to keep “her going” for their now 7 year old son, but now this entire situation has taken a toll on him.
Cynthia’s mother was enraged and insisted that her daughter would have never wanted to be removed from the feeding tubes, and she sought the courts assistance to stop Robert’s actions. As information for the case was being collected, Cynthia’s two younger sisters, Caroline and Celina both insisted Cynthia also told them that she did want to be sustained by feeding tubes, and would just “want to be let go with dignity.” The courts were still inclined to sway in Cynthia’s mother’s favor since no advanced directive or written request was available.
Fourteen months after the ruling in favor of Cynthia’s mother’s occured, Cynthia died from an infection. Later that month, Robert located an old post-it note with Cynthia’s request not to be sustained by artificial means. He is currently filing suit against the state and the hospital.
1. Address the following in each of your responses: Need 1000 words
2. Assess the risks involved in the situation and discuss the ethical implications (and/or legal implications)
3. Provide a rationale on the steps you chose for your resolution
4. Identify the major ethical and/or legal issue(s) in the scenario
5. Identify all those invested in the outcome (e.g. family members, patient, doctors, hospital administration, policy makers, etc)
6. Identify one action plan to resolve the issue(s) – with proper literature support
7. Discuss your personal reaction to the scenario
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