May 14, 2010
In New Jersey we have the case of the 73 year old man in a persistent vegetative state for nearly a year, hooked up to a ventilator, dialysis machine and feeding tube because the patient’s daughter did not agree to the futility conclusion reached by the medical staff and who sued—and won—when the hospital placed a “do not resuscitate” sign on his bed and halted dialysis.
Oh, we are getting good at endorsing family’s determination about “extraordinary” means—but we are not so good when family won’t agree to our clinical conclusions.
So a group of physicians and “bioethics experts” in New Jersey are advocating “for an independent ethics committee to help resolve end-of-life disputes between families and hospitals.”
WHOA!! Aren’t we jumping the gun here? Aren’t ethics committees designed to help OTHERS make good decisions? Haven’t we long held the conviction that “ethics committees are not decision-makers”? I see the need for help here, but let’s call it BY ANOTHER NAME.
Agree? Disagree? I’m all ears!!!
Labels: ethics committees; medical ethics; end of life; advance directives