“Please, help me die…”

Andrea is providing home care for Jason, a young man with a number of health conditions, including a long recovery from a serious car accident that has resulted in mobility limitations, chronic pain, and major depression. Over the past few months he has mentioned wanting to die several times. Today, he says, “Now that it…

Visiting Hours

Michelle’s frail elderly father, Tom, was admitted to hospital following a fall. He had been living with Michelle and her family since a stroke two years previously. Prior to the fall, he required significant care, but Michelle was able to manage with the support of her siblings. Among Tom’s challenges were a moderate language barrier,…

Running on empty

Mary’s unit has been working with several vacancies for months. Sick calls are high and she regularly has to mandate nurses to work overtime. And since it’s flu season, the acuity on the unit is high, and the demand from the Emergency Department is constant. She can see that staff are spread thin and burning…

“…not a candidate…”

Vera is an active 84-year-old who’s been suffering from back pain as long as she can remember. She’s always managed to get by with a couple of over-the-counter painkillers and a little grit and determination. These days, though, she’s finding it more difficult to climb a flight of stairs, or even to get out of…

A new goldmine!

We’re cheating a little on this month’s Case. We’ve discovered a new gold mine of great ethics cases, in a format very similar to this one, and wanted to share it with you. This extensive collection comes from the Nova Scotia Health Ethics Network, and is a database searchable by keyword.There are numerous cases, all…

Hope is the other face of fear

This case of the month comes from a TED Talk recorded in Charlottesville, NC, by Dr. Leslie Blackhall, a palliative care physician. Entitled Living, Dying, and the Problem of Hope, Dr. Blackhall offers an important perspective on living until we die. She talks about hope as a source of optional and unnecessary suffering. Dr. Blackhall tells three…

Patient knows best?

Allison is a nurse practitioner seeing Jake, a young man with a bad cold. Allison notes Jake has a nervous demeanor and appears highly anxious. His symptoms strongly suggest his illness is viral, but he asks her to prescribe an antibiotic to ensure he can get back to work quickly. Despite carefully explaining the fact…