Surrogate decision-makers and advance directives

The final project for this course is an analysis of the legal and ethical issues involved in the below health care scenario.
A 72 year old woman was admitted to the Neurological Intensive Care Unit following a cerebral hemorrhage which left her with severe brain damage and ventilator dependent. One year before this event, the patient and her husband had drawn up “living wills” with an attorney. She was diagnosed by her treating physician as being in a permanent unconscious condition. The patient’s living will specified that the patient did not want ventilator support or other artificial life support in the event of a permanent unconscious condition or terminal condition.

The patient’s husband is her legal next of kin and the person with surrogate decision-making authority. When the living will was discussed with him, he insisted that the patient had not intended for the document to be used in a situation like the present one. Further discussion with him revealed that he understood that the patient would not be able to recover any meaningful brain function but he argued that the living will did not apply because her condition was not imminently terminal. He further indicated that he did not consider his wife to be in a permanent unconscious condition.  The immediate family members (the couple’s adult children) disagreed with their father’s refusal to withdraw life support.

The treatment team allowed a week to pass to allow the husband more time to be supported in his grief and to appreciate the gravity of his wife’s situation.  Nevertheless, at the end of this time, the husband was unwilling to authorize withdrawal of life support measures consistent with the patient’s wishes as expressed in her living will.

List and discuss the three most important ethical/legal issues in this scenario [Just three]. Why are they legal /ethical issues?  Be sure and define the concepts you discuss. As a health care provider, how would you have handled this situation and why? 

Get writing help on this assignment and more like it, the simple way.

Top nursing writing service online: Secure Top Grades with top nursing paper writers. Get Top Nursing Papers Now.

Order Now
Open chat