Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Ethical Dilemma (Part 1)

For the sake of illustration, let’s say this is a hypothetical test question:

You have an elderly patient who’s alert, oriented, and appears to be of sound mind, agreeing to and complying with care in the emergency department. This hypothetical patient is sick – very sick. An immediate family member presents after several hours of treatment and identifies as the health care proxy, demanding that all medical interventions be stopped, stating “I want this person discharged now.” Death could occur if this happens.

The patient is now silent and appears to acquiesce to the proxy’s wishes. On further questioning the patient states “I want to be discharged” in a less than convincing manner, adding “If it’s my time it’s my time.” As the doctor calmly explains the severity of the patients condition, the proxy becomes more and more agitated, shouting “I don’t want to hear what you have to say, you’re not listening to me. Respect my wishes!” What does the ER doc and nurse do?

If you enjoy navigating these kinds of difficult scenarios, trying to find a solution where it doesn’t seem possible, then the ER is for you.

I must warn you though – just like life, things don’t always turn out well.