Patient's death; a right or a privilege?

Here's a hypothetical situation:

You are the primary physician for the care of 60-year-old Patient. Patient, though approaching his old years, has remained very physically active and enjoys playing tennis and golf. In fact, since he has retired, most of the time he spends with friends involves these activities, including a fair amount of the time he spends with his wife.

On a dark and stormy night, Patient is struck by a car run off-road. his neck is broken and, though he is rushed to the hospital, it quickly becomes clear that he will be permanently quadriplegic. Fortunately, his life is saved; however, he will likely depend on the use of an artificial respirator for the rest of his life.

Gaining consciousness a few days after the incident, Patient is distraught over his condition. Having never wished for a life like this, he demands to be put out of his misery. His wife states that, if he were asked before the incident whether or not to have his life maintained via respirator, he most likely would have said no.

You ask a psychiatrist to evaluate Patient, and he decides that Patient is likely suffering from post-traumatic distress and depression. He tells you that 75% of people in Patient's position repeal their wish for death within six months of the incident; in other words, there is a 75% chance that, within six months, Patient will decide that he no longer wishes to die. This does not include patients that die of natural causes during those six months.

As Patient's primary physician, you have four possible choices:

1)Participate in euthanasia/assisted suicide, "put Patient out of his misery"
2)Respect his wishes for death and turn off the artificial respirator
3)Reject his wishes for death and maintain artificial respiration; reevaluate your decision after six months
4)Reject his wishes for death indefinitely.

Assume that no action will get your ass sued/arrested.

Wat do?


The Anime Aspie said...

I'd let him do it, and watch the whole thing. its really none of my business what a man does with his own life.

MRanthrope said...

do a barrel roll.

haha, no really...this is horrid situation. I honestly don't know what I'd do.

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