End of Life Issues

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With major advancement in medical treatments, it is now possible to keep a patient alive, which would not have been possible in former times. This has made end of life issue one of the most controversial issues in healthcare. Medical improvements have set the stage for ethical and legal controversies about not only the patient’s rights but also the family’s rights and the medical profession’s proper role. It is critical that any decision made in such situation is ethical and legal to preserve the rights of the patient and also protect the healthcare institution involved. It is very important when making decisions to discontinue treatments to make sure all other alternatives have been explored. The case of Lydia is particularly controversial because medical personnel are not completely sure of her capability to make medical decisions due to the extent of her injuries. Lydia is paralyzed and she requires a ventilator and feeding tubes. Dr. Bob Pritchard Lydia’s physician stated that she is progressing slowly but her level of functioning has not significantly improved. Another thing that makes this case more complicated is because Lydia has an Advance Directive which cannot be located. To make the situation worse, Lydia’s husband, who is her guardian and her mother are in disagreement on whether to continue treatment or not. The first issue the institution has to look into is to decide whether Lydia is competent to make medical decisions for herself. The law states that every competent individual of sound mind has a right to make their medical decisions themselves. Though laws vary by state, most states ensure that the patient remains in charge if he/she is of sound mind. Usually, laws are in place that requires at least two physicians to declare a patient to be incapacitated. Medical personnel treating Lydia could not agree on her competency. I will recommend that Lydia be examined by at least two physicians who can...
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