Humanistic Problem Solving: The Case of Mr. T
Winslade, William J.
Journal of Clinical Ethics. 1997 Winter; 8(4): 389-397.
...The following case provides an example of pragmatic humanism incorporated into a legal process. The case begins with Mr. T, an elderly gentleman, who resisted and refused numerous efforts to persuade him to have his gangrenous foot amputated. His family was intimidated by him; his physicians were exasperated; his attorney and the attorney for the government were bemused. I was appointed by a court to assess his situation, to be an independent legal and bioethics adviser to the court. My role went beyond what is currently called ethics consultation. I was also authorized to be a participant in the proceedings, to investigate, to examine witnesses at the hearing, and to report and make recommendations to the court. I accepted the invitation to explore the human problems, psychological, ethical, and legal, and to propose practical ways of solving them.
Aged; Bioethics; Case Studies; Communication; Competence; Comprehension; Consent; Consultation; Decision Making; Depressive Disorder; Emotions; Empathy; Ethical Theory; Ethicist's Role; Ethics; Ethics Consultation; Expert Testimony; Family Members; Forensic Psychiatry; Government; Guardians; Humanism; Informed Consent; Interdisciplinary Communication; Interprofessional Relations; Judicial Action; Lawyers; Legal Guardians; Life; Mediation; Patient Advocacy; Patient Compliance; Physicians; Pragmatism; Professional Role; Psychiatry; Quality of Life; Surgery; Treatment Refusal;