Health Care Ethics
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A life support applies to any form of therapy that can be used to sustain patient’s life while they are terminally ill. Many techniques may be used by clinicians achieve a life sustaining life. These may include mechanical ventilation, lung bypass, feeding tube among others. These techniques are mostly applied in Emergence Departments, Intensive care units as well as operating rooms Morrison (2009,p.21). Life support is used to sustain life while the patient is being treated for prognosis. The clinical goal of the process depends with specified patient situation Morrison (2009, p.20). Caring for people towards the end of their lives is one of the challenging and rewarding aspects in primary health care. This is because the proximity to death transforms the medical encounter. This calls upon both clinical and medical competence of the medical provider Morrison (2009, p.24).
In this case, the patient had signed advanced health care directive form, only the agent of the patient can request for life support establishment. Otherwise the medical officer attending the patient should not establish life support.Besides, healthcare providers are required to address many potential ethical issues in the end of life support decision making process(2009,p.34). The advance health care directives were therefore meant to cater for the patient healthcare when the patient lacks competence in decision making capacity. The request by family members for life support to be established could not hold water.
According to Morrison (2009) family members who are making choices for their loved ones "often have a sizable stake in how treatment decisions go, and their interests influence the decisions making, the orthodoxy regards the process as morally contaminated" (p. 203). In other words, family members may tend to make decisions about their loved ones life saving measures based on how it would benefit them and not based on the benefit of the patient. One issue that a health care provider would want to make sure of is that the person in charge of a patient's health care decisions is a competent and knowledgeable person. Another issue that a health care provider would want to address is making sure that the person who is making decisions on behalf of the patient has the priority to do so. For example, Morrison (2009, p.207) states that when it comes to making decisions on behalf of a patient there is a "descending order of priority: spouse, adult children, parents, siblings, and so on" (p. 208). A health care provider must make sure that the person determining the health care treatment for the patient indeed has the authority to do so, and if that person is not present, the health care provider must do everything in their power to reach this "priority" family member. If the patient had signed an advanced directive then the health care facility would have to honor the wishes of the patient and not those of the family.
Morrison (209, p.224) lists seven "safeguards and guidelines for a policy on assisted death and a life support program. These guidelines must be met in order for patients in Oregon to be allowed to process with ending their life. It is evident that if a person is diagnosed with an incurable disease that people may be able to manipulate that individual into taking his or her own life Morrison (2009, p.225). For example, a person who has been diagnosed with an incurable disease who is competent, and who has given up on the will to live with the disease could be convinced by family members, physicians, or friends to consider physician-assisted suicide. The guidelines only focus on the patient and the physician; they do not involve interviewing family members to make sure that the idea of pursuing physician-assisted suicide was the sole idea of the patient and not the coercion of family members Morrison(2009,p.228). In addition, the guidelines say nothing about the patient's family even being aware of their family members deciding to embark on.
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