Jane Doe, an alert 55 year-old woman, was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Her prognosis was poor; she was given about six months to live.

She underwent several series of chemotherapy treatments, to no avail. She continued to lose weight, and became weaker. After three months of chemotherapy, she decided she wanted no further treatment. She became bedridden and was admitted to a nursing home for terminal (hospice) care. Her son, who lived in another state, arrived at the home and demanded to see the physician wanting his mother to be hospitalized and the chemotherapy resumed immediately. When the physician explained that there was little hope for her recovery, the son threatened to sue the physician for withdrawal of care. Identify the ethical issues in this case. In your opinion, does the son have a legitimate reason to sue the physician?
Jane Doe, an alert 55 year-old woman, was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Her prognosis was poor; she was given about six months to live. She underwent several series of chemotherapy treatments, to no avail. She continued to lose weight, and became weaker. After three months of chemotherapy, she decided she wanted no further treatment. She became bedridden and was admitted to a nursing home for terminal (hospice) care. Her son, who lived in another state, arrived at the home and demanded to see the physician wanting his mother to be hospitalized and the chemotherapy resumed immediately. When the physician explained that there was little hope for her recovery, the son threatened to sue the physician for withdrawal of care. Identify the ethical issues in this case. In your opinion, does the son have a legitimate reason to sue the physician? What are the possible solutions to this case? What might the physician have done to prevent the confrontation? What might the patient have done?


 

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