An elderly patient suffering from a terminal disease, cancer had been receiving medical attention from our Provident Hospital in Washington DC for about 8 months. Though we had managed to contain the medical condition, the patient continued to experience immense suffering and…
I considered the legal and ethical aspects that surround physician aid-in-dying before responding to the patient. Though I understood the patient’s tribulations, I was also wary of the complexities in the patient’s request. In a respectful and caring way, I explored the request to understand its origin and established potential interventions to alleviate the motivators of the request. The patient was clearly depressed and hence I opted to counsel her proposed palliative care and hospice as potential and effective alternatives. After 2 days of counseling, continued family support, and assistance from a palliative care specialist, the patient dropped the physician aid-in-dying request.
The clinical experience was positive in that it reminded me of the significance of counseling in handling the elderly and terminally ill patients. The physical, mental, social, and spiritual suffering experienced by such patients leads to depression that may compel patients to request for the ethically and legally controversial physician aid-in-dying (Plaisted, 2013). Counselors, supportive families, and palliative care specialists can help in nursing elderly and terminally ill patients. However, the clinical experience was negative since it manifested how patients disregard medications, make irrational decisions, and give up on nursing care for terminal illness. This jeopardizes the capacity to manage terminal illness. Indeed, physician aid-in-dying request demeans many effective alternatives that can ease terminal suffering and guarantee long life (Plaisted, 2013).
I would have made the situation better by recommending frequent counseling sessions for the patient since it was clear he would spend a long time in our hospital. Moreover, I would have consulted professional colleagues regarding physician aid-in-dying. Indeed, other professional colleagues would have helped in addressing most of the patient’s issues. For instance, palliative ...
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