Support for Patients Nearing Death

Topic: Healthcare Research
Words: 825 Pages: 3


The case involves elderly male suffering from peripheral vascular disease and suffers artery inadequacy in one of his legs. He experiences immense pain in that foot, which forces him to lose sleep, as indicated in (Kalbfell and Margaret, 2021). In addition to that, on his left big toe, he has a small ulcer. There are nights that he is forced to stay in a recliner while his foot stays down to alleviate the pain. Some conditions continue to destroy the quality of life of this man, which includes diabetes and emphysema, as indicated in (Kalbfell and Margaret, 2021). Since the pain is becoming unbearable for the patient, his doctor recommends him to a vascular surgeon who could help with relieving the pain. The surgeon speaks with the patient, and while the latter is willing to undergo the procedure of relieving the pain, the surgeon warns that it could improve symptoms but cannot guarantee to prolong life.

Also, the surgeon warns that if anything goes wrong, the procedure could shorten the patient’s life. After the procedure, the patient develops difficulties, consisting of aspiration pneumonia, as shown in (Kalbfell and Margaret, 2021). At this point, the patient has lost trust in the surgeon, and when it is time to get intubation as required for aspiration pneumonia patients, he declines and dies. It was right for the surgeon to conduct the procedure ultimately shortened the patient’s life. I do not think the surgeon made a mistake by conducting the procedure. It is a doctor’s responsibility to do anything they can and in their capacity medically to ensure that they give the patient a better life experience.

Impact of the Case in Nurse Practitioner Career

A nurse practitioner’s main responsibilities to their patients include assessing their necessities, ordering plus inferring diagnostic and lab tests, diagnosing conditions, and creating and instructing treatment approaches. Just like the way the doctor in our case assessed the patient and recommended surgery, it is the same way a nurse practitioner would recommend treatment for a patient. Medical professionals are responsible for ensuring life is not lost as long as there is something medically they could do. As a nurse practitioner, if I think after assessing a patient’s situation, they need a specific treatment plan that could better the quality of life, I would not hold back. Also, I would always communicate to the patients about the consequences of the plan before it happens so that they are aware and know enough to make the decision.

Legally, it is wrong to administer a treatment plan or procedure that would end an individual’s life without consent before treatment. For instance, if the surgeon had conducted the procedure without letting the patient know and confirm that they agree, the surgeon would face legal consequences, according to (Ives and Richard, 2020). However, in this case, the surgeon explained the procedure to the patient and received consent from the patient.

Ethically, it is wrong for a surgeon or doctor to hide some details about the treatment approach on a patient. For example, in the case of Mr. F, it could have been wrong if the surgeon hid details about the consequences of the procedure, as indicated by (Ives and Richard, 2020). The surgeon revealed that complications could shorten the patient’s life, so he was right.

Professionally, a doctor has the responsibility to ensure that their patients receive the best care possible to better the quality of life of a patient. The doctor tried to ensure that the patient lived a better life free of pain, as implied by (Ives and Richard, 2020). So, professionally as a surgeon, he was still right to conduct the procedure.

Strategies for Future Events

Situations or cases like this will always exist in the medical profession. Doctors and surgeons must be protected to ensure that they do not shy away from participating in surgical procedures that could better live. It is proper that policies be established that if a procedure has the chance of shortening a patient’s life, the hospital administration reaches out to the family members and gets their consent on a signed document, as suggested by (Ives & Richard, 2020). The document will prove good conduct whenever any complications arise, and the patient’s condition worsens or loses a life. Another strategy is ensuring that any procedure conducted on patients has a ninety percent or more of bettering their lives.

Hiding Some Details about Surgical Procedures

The case has shown that even an individual’s doctor can refer to them to treatment options without fully explaining how it might work or the consequences. For instance, the initial doctor of the patient did not reveal that the surgery could result in the patient’s situation getting worse. What the doctor did by hiding the details is unethical from a medical professional standpoint. It could have been better if he had advised him before referral.


Ives, J., & Huxtable, R. (2020). Surgical ethics during a pandemic: moving into the unknown?. Journal of British Surgery, 107(9), 1089-1090.

Kalbfell, Elle L., and Margaret L. Schwarze. “How to support patients near the end of life whose pain is best treated with surgery?” AMA Journal of Ethics, 23(10), 772–777.

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