The Enduring Case


In clinical ethics an enduring case takes on a life of its own and comes to closure over a long period of time. This essay describes the evolution of such a case over a 1–year period. The case involves a 90–year old male patient with multiple chronic medical conditions who lacked decision–making capacity, was a resident of a long–term care facility, and did not have known previously expressed wishes regarding medical treatment. The ethics consultation initially revolved around this question: What method or process must be employed so that medical treatment decisions could be ethically reviewed and could include a shared decision–making process for Mr. Smith? This case analysis describes the evolution of this case and argues that the good of the patient must remain paramount throughout an enduring case.