Disconnecting a Ventilator at the Request of a Patient Who Knows He Will Then Die: The Doctor's Anguish
Edwards, Miles J.
Tolle, Susan W.
Annals of Internal Medicine. 1992 Aug 1; 117(3): 254-256.
Recently we assisted in withdrawing life support from a patient who had repeatedly asked to have his ventilator disconnected, even after being informed that he would then die. We found little in the medical literature to guide us, especially at the feeling level, so we are sharing our experience with the hope that others will find our emotional responses, reasoning, and procedures useful....It is beyond the usual role of ethics consultants to take over patient care responsibilities and actually perform ventilator withdrawal. We do not intend to make it our practice to do this because it is really the appropriate role of the care-providers, who should enlist the help of a pulmonary-intensivist. We appreciate what we have learned from this unusual experience. After a period of reflection, we are no longer anxious about this decision, and we believe that we did the right thing in respecting Mr. Larson's request. Having witnessed from the bedside the suffering and the determination of this patient and his family, we feel better equipped to counsel other physicians whose patient care responsibilities will require them to grapple with similar end-of-life dilemmas.
Allowing to Die; Attitudes; Autonomy; Case Studies; Clinical Ethics; Competence; Consent; Consultation; Decision Making; Drugs; Ethicists; Ethics; Ethics Committees; Family Members; Informed Consent; Life; Literature; Patient Care; Patient Care Team; Patients; Physician's Role; Physicians; Psychological Stress; Quality of Life; Referral and Consultation; Responsibilities; Suffering; Treatment Refusal; Ventilators; Withholding Treatment;
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Disconnecting a Ventilator at the Request of a Patient Who Knows He Will Then Die: The Doctor's Anguish Edwards, Miles J.; Tolle, Susan W. (1992-08-12)
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