Abstract

This case study considers the clinical ethics issues of medical appropriateness and quality of life for patients who are critically ill. The case involves a terminally ill cancer patient with a profoundly diminished quality of life and an extremely poor prognosis; his spouse desires to bring him home, where she will arrange to keep him alive for as long as possible via life-sustaining interventions. The analysis engages with the complicated notion of medical appropriateness, both in general and as it pertains to life-sustaining interventions in a critical care setting, and considers the ethical implications of the various ways in which one might understand this concept. It also addresses the significance of quality-of-life determinations, emphasizing the role of individualized values in determining the importance of quality of life for clinical decision-making. The discussion concludes with a description of the two strategies employed by the ethics team in helping to alleviate the medical team’s concerns about this case.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-1740
Print ISSN
2157-1732
Pages
pp. 87-95
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-12
Open Access
No
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