To Withdraw or Not To Withdraw
Beauchamp and Childress (2019) describe the case of a comatose elderly man with major medical problems and little chance of recovery. Artificial nutrition and hydration and intravenous antibiotics maintain his life. His family agreed to a “do not resuscitate” order. Disagreement arose among nursing and medical personnel about continuing artificial nutrition and hydration and intravenous antibiotics, and what to do should the patient’s IV infiltrate and need replacement. Some of the staff believe it is not ethical to stop sustenance treatment and they would be “killing” the patient if they did so. Other staff believes that with little chance of recovery, stopping artificial nutrition and hydration and intravenous antibiotics is “letting the patient die” and allowing nature to take its course.
Answer the following questions:
Is withdrawing artificial nutrition and hydration and intravenous antibiotics from the patient justified? In your answer, address the ideas expressed in Lessons 6.2 and 6.3 and the required readings about withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment and optional and obligatory treatment.
If the patient in the above scenario also was on dialysis, is there an ethical distinction between withdrawing artificial hydration and nutrition and withdrawing dialysis? Explain your answer.
Share your responses to the discussion forum below. Your post should be a total of 300–400 words. Use all references 2019 and newer.
Using the scenario below discuss if the patient in the scenario was on dialysis, is there an ethical distinction between withdrawing artificial hydration and nutrition and withdrawing dialysis?
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