This is the medical case you will judge in the Final Exam es…

This is the medical case you will judge in the Final Exam essay question. In this forum you will share your plan withy our peers. Remember to apply only ONE theory to determine the moral thing to do. DO NOT APPLY more than one.

Title: Applying Ethical Theories in Medical Decision-Making: A Case Analysis

In medical ethics, ethical theories provide a framework to analyze complex ethical dilemmas and guide decision-making processes. Each theory offers its own perspectives, principles, and values, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the moral implications involved. This essay aims to analyze a medical case using a single ethical theory and provide a well-justified plan for the morally correct course of action. The chosen ethical theory for this case analysis is utilitarianism, which focuses on maximizing overall happiness and minimizing harm.

Case Study:
The case under examination involves a patient, Mr. Smith, who has been suffering from multiple organ failures for several years. His condition has deteriorated significantly, and the likelihood of survival without invasive life support measures, such as mechanical ventilation and continuous renal replacement therapy, is extremely low. Mr. Smith is currently unable to communicate his treatment preferences due to his incapacitated state.

The Options:
1. Option A: Palliative Care Only – The healthcare team discontinues aggressive life-sustaining measures and focuses on providing comfort care to alleviate symptoms and improve Mr. Smith’s quality of life in his remaining days.

2. Option B: Continue with Aggressive Treatment – The healthcare team exhausts all possible interventions and continues to provide life-sustaining therapies in an attempt to prolong Mr. Smith’s life, despite the low chances of success.

Utilitarian Analysis:
Utilitarianism asserts that the morally right action is the one that maximizes overall happiness or well-being. In this case, the goal is to determine the treatment option that produces the greatest net happiness or the least amount of suffering for all those involved, including the patient, his family, and the healthcare providers.

1. Mr. Smith – The primary beneficiary. Maximizing his well-being is crucial, considering his quality of life, potential pain, and overall happiness.

2. Family and Loved Ones – The emotional well-being of Mr. Smith’s family and loved ones, who also experience significant suffering due to his condition, should be considered.

3. Healthcare Providers – Assessing the physical and emotional stress faced by the healthcare providers involved in maintaining aggressive treatment for Mr. Smith is essential.

Analysis of Option A: Palliative Care Only:
Choosing palliative care alone would involve discontinuing life-sustaining measures, focusing on symptom management, and allowing Mr. Smith to live out his remaining days in comfort. This option prioritizes the patient’s comfort and quality of life over prolonging his life. Moreover, it potentially alleviates the emotional burden on his family and loved ones since they can spend quality time with Mr. Smith without the constant distress of invasive interventions.

Analyzing the impact of this option on the healthcare providers, it may lead to reduced stress, as they can redirect their efforts towards symptom relief and emotional support, rather than futile life-prolonging interventions. However, some healthcare providers could experience moral distress or feelings of guilt for not doing everything possible to extend the patient’s life.

Analysis of Option B: Continue with Aggressive Treatment:
Continuing with aggressive treatment involves utilizing mechanical ventilation and continuous renal replacement therapy despite the low chances of success. The aim is to prolong Mr. Smith’s life, potentially providing a chance for recovery or at least maintaining him in a stable condition. However, this option carries the risk of subjecting the patient to prolonged suffering, burdening his loved ones, and straining the healthcare resources.

From a utilitarian perspective, this option may induce suffering for all parties involved. Mr. Smith could experience physical and emotional pain due to the invasive treatments and potential complications. His family and loved ones may endure emotional distress, witnessing the prolongation of suffering and struggling with difficult end-of-life decisions. Healthcare providers may also face stress, moral dilemmas, and increased workload due to the resource-intensive nature of aggressive treatment.

Utilitarianism, as the chosen ethical theory, emphasizes the importance of maximizing overall happiness and minimizing harm. After a thorough analysis of the two options using a utilitarian lens, it is evident that Option A: Palliative Care Only aligns with this ethical theory. This option focuses on providing comfort care, reducing suffering for Mr. Smith, his family, and healthcare providers. By prioritizing comfort and quality of life, this choice maximizes overall happiness and maintains ethical integrity in decision-making.