Ethical challenges in withdrawing life support

Bioethics[ edit ] As technology continues to advance within the medical field, so do the options available for healthcare. Out of respect for the patient's autonomy, patients and their families are able to make their own decisions about life-sustaining treatment or whether to hasten death. When a patient is terminally ill or seriously injured, medical interventions can save or prolong the life of the patient.

Ethical challenges in withdrawing life support

Christine Busalacchi was injured in an automobile accident in After a series of acute care interventions were unsuccessful, she was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state p.

Ethical challenges in withdrawing life support

Because of the p. This fatal pathology was circumvented through medically assisted hydration and nutrition. Six years after the accident, when the courts in Missouri finally determined that her medical care should be under the direction of her father, a controversy arose concerning the ethics of removing life support from a person in a persistent vegetative state.

Specifically the question of removing artificial hydration and nutrition from Christine was debated on television, in the press, and among health care personnel. In an effort to clarify the proper care of persons in p.

Principles When considering the use or removal of life support, the first relevant fact concerns the existence of a fatal pathology. A fatal pathology is an illness, disease or bodily condition which will cause the death of a person.

Examples of fatal pathologies are diabetes, cancer, or end stage renal disease. If a fatal pathology is present, the question arises: Should diabetes be circumvented through the use of insulin, should attempts be made to remove the cancer through surgery, or should attempts be made to alleviate the end stage renal disease through hemodialysis?

Usually, people wish to combat fatal pathologies by means of medical therapy.

Ethical challenges in withdrawing life support

They opt for insulin, surgery, or hemodialysis if their lives are threatened. In most cases, there is an ethical conviction as well as a natural intuition to preserve life through medical therapy because it enables one to strive for the important goods of life.

What are these important goods? In general, the important goods are preserving life, seeking the truth, loving our families, generating and nurturing future generations, and forming communities with other people.

In particular, each one of us has goods which are important to our sense of purpose and well-being. In some situations however, extending life through medical therapy does not enable the patient to strive for the goods of life. Or if it does, the therapy imposes a burden which makes striving for the goods of life too difficult.

To be more specific, because of the condition of the patient, medical therapy may be either ineffective thus making it impossible for the person to pursue the important goods of life. Or it may impose an excessive burden thus making it too difficult for the person to strive for important goods of life.

Hence, a conscious patient, severely debilitated due to pathologies in many organs, may request removal of a respirator because continued existence in this condition will not allow her to pursue any of the goods of life. Moreover, the same decision to remove life support may be made by family members for a loved one, if the hope of recovering consciousness is slight and death is imminent and unavoidable.

Another condition which renders medical therapy ineffective is the persistent vegetative state p. Because of a dysfunctional cerebral cortex, persons in this condition can never again strive for the goods of life which we identify with human function.

Their cognitive-affective function is non-existent and cannot be restored. Thus, they do not have the power to think, love, relate to others, or demonstrate care and compassion nor can these powers ever be regained.

In addition, because of damage to the cerebral cortex, persons in p. This pathology can be circumvented by means of medically assisted hydration and nutrition.

But does use of this medical therapy benefit the patient? Does prolonging physiological function, with the realization that the patient will be unable to strive for most of the important goods of life, mandate continued medical intervention?There are many serious issues for families to consider when faced with the prospect of removing life support for a loved one.

My objective is to identify the key medical ethical considerations that are faced when considering the removal of life support for a patient.

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End-of-Life Care and Norms Reasons for this are related to the fact that withholding is passive, whereas withdrawing is active and associated with a greater sense of moral responsibility. Withdrawing or terminating ventilation in Intensive Care Unit ICUeven in a terminally sick patient, needs thoughtful review, particularly in those patients who are not yet brain dead.

Ethical theory (and the Catholic moral tradition) hold that there is no ethical difference between withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment. Yet only someone with no clinical experience would fail to recognize the differential psychological impact of .

Nonmaleficence and Beneficence Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a holding or withdrawing life support, extraordinary measures, and death some assistance through its Policy Statement—Ethical Issues Related to a Reduction in Force (ACHE, ).

. Islamic perspectives on clinical intervention near the end-of-life: life support from brain dead patients, the latter does not (Miller ; Padela et al. ). As the science around is fraught with multiple ethical challenges for Muslim patients, providers and religious leaders.

This paper aims to. Ethical Challenges in Withdrawing Life Support; Ethical Challenges in Withdrawing Life Support. 1 January Ethics; Patients are compelled by powerful emotions (such as guilt) or by adherence to religious or secular traditions to behave in certain ways that may conflict with medical advice.

2 Honest discussions with patients and their. The decision to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment in paediatric and neonatal intensive care units (ICUs) is both complex and emotive for everyone involved.

All members of the treating healthcare team, led by the consultant in charge, should be involved in the decision-making guideline is intended to be used by nurses when situations arise where it may be ethical and.

Withdrawing life support and resolution of conflict with families