Ethics: When Decisions are Not so Clear Cut

By Steven Reichert, MD, Director, Palliative Care A 60-year-old man presents to the emergency room via ambulance with complaints of severe shortness of breath and malaise. He has a history of bipolar illness, severe COPD and morbid obesity. Upon arrival he is found in respiratory […]

Ethics: Fractious Family Muddles End-of-Life Decisions

Mr. B is an 80-year-old man with a history of prior stroke, dementia and chronic kidney disease who is admitted to the ICU from home with aspiration pneumonia, respiratory and renal failure. He is intubated in the emergency department and after several days extubated. His baseline health status is poor. He is bed- bound, unable to communicate other than basic nonverbal gestures and had been taking increasingly smaller amounts of food and liquid at home.