Alice’s Frail Mother








Alice’s Frail Mother



Alice’s Frail Mother

            At the root of the ethical dilemma in Martha’s case is the relationship between the Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order and the advance directives. The advance directives are written by the patient’s surrogate, Alice, to guide the doctor on future care treatments or lack thereof. The patient has autonomy to choose the type of treatments they do not want to be offered. Alice’s mother specified in the event of heart attack Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), surgery, or antibiotics intended to prolong her suffering should not be offered. To reiterate the above, her surrogate filled the Do Not Resuscitate orders explicitly refusing CPR. The order is narrowly operative to cardiac arrests despite the precipitating factors. Given that Alice partially filled the forms during admission, Alice did not pass on the advance directives. The DNR orders only came into effect when the physician has ascertained the patient’s competency in authorizing the orders. As she was tired, Alice failed to communicate the reasons for the DNR to the administration.

            Devoid of a valid explanation and in the absence of the surrogate the ethical committee could override the practice according to Oak Grove policies. Similarly, the human element surrounding the decision-making process may have undermined the DNR. Naturally, the home’s officials have an ethical mandate to adhere to the principles of non-maleficence and beneficence. The latter demands taking actions aimed to promote Martha’s wellbeing. As proof that the DNR was in the patient’s best interest had not been clarified, the Oak Grove officials made a life or death decision amid time constraints. The DNR is not reversible hence, they took the safer alternative. The majority of the population, the staff of Oak Grove notwithstanding, is ignorant of the implications of the DNR. The DNR order is only valid for the end of term patients who have no viable alternatives to return to optimum health. Prolonging Martha’s life given her Alzheimer’s condition would only undermine her quality of life.

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