The Gulf Between: Surrogate Choices, Physician Instructions, and Informal Network Responses
Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. 1995 Spring; 4(2): 185-192.
...Patient surrogates (relatives with legal authority to act for a patient) and caregivers (other family members or friends involved in patient support) are now presenting their caring and surrogate dilemmas in online, electronic forums or conferences offered by a variety of computer-driven bulletin board and messaging systems. These queries reflect a full range of social, medical, and bioethical issues, from the relative merits of home versus institutional care in cases of dementia to whether or not to continue life support for comatose patients. These message "strings," as they are called, present a unique window on the patient surrogate or caregiver's ethical perspective and decision-making process. By inference, they also provide data on the gulf that may separate the diverging decision-making models of professionals and laypeople. This paper presents one such string as an example of, first, how a surrogate arrives at decisions for a comatose relative, and then as an illustration of the potential this media holds for understanding sociomedical issues from the perspective of healthcare system clients.
Allowing to Die; Artificial Feeding; Bioethical Issues; Caregivers; Caring; Communication; Computers; Coma; Decision Making; Dementia; Family Members; Friends; Health; Information Dissemination; Life; Patients; Persistent Vegetative State; Prolongation of Life; Psychological Stress; Quality of Life; Relatives; Value of Life; Values; Ventilators;
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