Document Detail

Respecting patient autonomy versus protecting the patient's health: a dilemma for healthcare providers.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19935216     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Process    
A 74-year-old man with multiple chronic medical problems was hospitalized for respiratory distress. He experienced recurrent aspiration and required frequent suctioning and endotracheal intubation on several occasions. The patient was deemed competent and steadfastly refused feeding tube placement. The patient demanded that he be allowed to eat a normal diet despite being told that it could lead to his death. The patient wanted to go home, but there was no one there to care for him. Additionally, neither a nursing home nor hospice would accept him in his present condition. The case is especially interesting because of the symbolic value of food and the plight of the patient who has no alternative to hospitalization. The hospital staff experienced considerable stress at having to care for him. They were uncertain whether their obligation was to respect his autonomy and continue to provide food or to protect his health by avoiding aspiration, pneumonia, and possible death by denying him food. This ethical dilemma posed by the professionals' duty to do what is in the patient's best interest versus the patient's right to decide treatment serves as the focus for this case study. Ethical, legal, and healthcare practitioners' considerations are explored. The case study concludes with specific recommendations for treatment.
James M Badger; Rosalind Ekman Ladd; Paul Adler
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  JONA'S healthcare law, ethics and regulation     Volume:  11     ISSN:  1539-073X     ISO Abbreviation:  JONAS Healthc Law Ethics Regul     Publication Date:    2009 Oct-Dec
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-11-25     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100888423     Medline TA:  JONAS Healthc Law Ethics Regul     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  120-4; quiz 125-6     Citation Subset:  N    
Department of Nursing, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island 02903, USA.
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