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Old 10-22-2012
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Arrow Gyrus Daily Questions; Ethics #2

A 62-year-old man who has been in a serious automobile ccident is brought to the hospital. After the patient is stabilized, med-ical evaluation reveals that he will never recover consciousness but will instead remain in a vegetative state. A decision must be made about whether or not to continue life support. Prior to the accident, the patient was declared the legal guardian for his wife who has Alzheimer dementia and lives in a nursing home. The patient's sister, with whom the patient lives, urges the physician to keep her brother alive at any cost. The patient's adult son tells the physician that his father would not want to be kept alive in a vegetative state. Most correctly, which of the following will make the decision regarding continuing life support for this patient?

(A) The hospital ethics committee
(B) The wife
(C) The son
(D) The physician
(E) The sister
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Old 10-22-2012
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We can rule out the physician and the hospital committee in this case. Since the patient is the legal guardian for the wife and she is suffering from Alzheimer's dementia and living in the nursing home, I am guessing she is not in a tip top shape to speak for the patient. Since the son and father do not live together, he will not reflect the patient's most current wishes about the end of life treatment. This leaves only the sister, so I will go ahead and choose option E. (even though I know that children come before siblings in the heirarchy of decision making, I will let the fact that they live separately, affect my judgement in this case)
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Old 10-22-2012
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i would go with the son
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Old 10-22-2012
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(C) The son
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Old 10-22-2012
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The son because he stated that "his father WOULD NOT WANT TO" be kept alive, whereas the sister is urging the physician out of desperation, therefore the SON is the one that is right here.
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Old 10-22-2012
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The answer is given is C.

The priority order in which family members make this determination is the
1) spouse, 2) adult children, 3) parents, 4) siblings, and 5) other relatives.

The fact that the spouse has a legal guardian indicates that she has been declared incompetent. Therefore, the son makes the decision.
The hospital ethics committee may be called in if there is a difference between family members at the same priority level (not necessary in this case),

The question is from BRS Behaviour science...
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