“…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…

Dancing in the Dark

Joe is a 68-year-old man who presents to the emergency department with an acute abdomen, and is admitted to the ward after emergency surgery. He is accompanied by a large family, most of whom wait quietly and anxiously in the Family Room for word from the ward staff on when Joe will be ready for…

Heaven over Hospital

In this case, taken from a recent CNN story, we consider some of the factors a substitute decision-maker will include in their decision-making process. Specifically, we look at the case of a five-year-old girl with a life-limiting degenerative neuromuscular disease. She does not want to be hospitalized again, and her parents have agreed to respect her wishes,…

In-between

Even amid the newborn squalling of Dianne and Michael’s healthy, full-term infant, all Dianne can hear is the stunned silence when she asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?” After what seemed like a lifetime, someone answered. “We’re not sure.” Later that day, the pediatrician sat down with them and explained. The baby was intersex,…