Liar, liar?

This month’s case is not so much a case as a concept. It is also a bit of a departure from health care ethics – although very applicable to the work we do every day. I recently heard an episode of NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast called Everybody Lies and That’s Not Always a Bad Thing.…

Desperate times, desperate measures?

This case is based on a case study published by the AMA Journal of Medical Ethics. It involves a patient who requests an unproven treatment she found on the internet to address a debilitating health condition that has been resistant to evidence-informed interventions. Read through the case and its commentary here. Questions for discussion and…

Ulterior Motives

This case is one used in the WRHA workshop Shades of Grey in Community Health: Ethical Decision Making and Moral Distress. Mrs. Q is an elderly woman living alone in her home in an affluent neighbourhood. She has some slight cognitive impairment and limited mobility and receives home care support for medications and morning and…

Form vs. function

Ava is a nurse practitioner in a busy primary care clinic. Jessie, a 17-year-old girl, has been a client of Ava’s for several years, coming in regularly for routine physicals and common childhood illnesses. This time, though, Jessie has an unusual request. She asks Ava to refer her to a plastic surgeon for a breast…

Say Cheese!

Upon return from a vacation, Jonathan’s manager calls him into her office. Some of the photos he posted on Instagram while he was away have caused a stir. There are pictures of him posing on the beach with friends. Everyone has a drink in their hands. There are a number of candid shots of parties…

Purely medicinal

Colleen is a home care worker who has been looking after Mr. J for several months. He is an elderly widower who is housebound. His social interactions are limited to his home care workers, and weekly visits from his son and daughter-in-law, who bring him groceries and library books. Colleen has found Mr. J to…

What should I say?

It is late at night and the phone rings. The caller identifies herself as the mother of Jane, a patient on the unit. Jane was admitted involuntarily the day before after being rescued from a bridge, from which she was preparing to jump. Jane has not verbally communicated with anyone since her admission, but having…