It is important to note that respiratory failure occurs when the ability to take up oxygen or eliminate carbon dioxide is largely impaired. The cessation of these active processes indicates the severity of the patient’s condition, which results in mechanical interventions to sustain life (Hu et al, 2009). The use of medical interventions such as mechanical ventilation is subject to debate based on the ethical nature of the application. Opponents and proponents alike present heavy and valid arguments to oppose or support their position. With this in mind, this paper seeks to explore various aspects of respiratory failure include pathophysiological changes in the affected organs. Moreover, the paper explores ethical issues surrounding the use of mechanical intervention to restore respiratory functions to the affected patient. As already established, respiratory failure occurs following the incapacitation of one or both of the gas-exchanging processes; that is oxygenation of venous blood and/or removal of carbon dioxide. Respiratory failure may be acute or chronic where the clinical presentation of each is different. Acute respiratory failure is usually characterised by life-threatening levels in blood gases resulting imbalanced acid-base status while chronic respiratory failure is more passive and bears unapparent clinical manifestations. Numerous underlying factors contribute to respiratory failure with each part of the body system resulting in a distinct type of failure. In essence, failure of the lungs owing to pneumonia, emphysema among other lung diseases, results in hypoxemia or type I respiratory failure. Similarly, failure of respiratory controllers such as the chest wall and muscles leads to hypoventilation and hypercapnia or type II respiratory failure. The two conditions may coexist as illustrated in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, severe pulmonary oedema, or asthma. Owing to numerous underlying factors that contribute to respiratory failure, the condition has emerged among the major causes of illness and death in the United States. The high prevalence of chronic respiratory conditions serves to enhance the risk of respiratory failure, which in turn leads to loss of productivity and shortened lives. However, it has been difficult to define mortality rates related to respiratory failure since the underlying conditions are indicated in such cases. The effects of chronic diseases become widespread much earlier, and can be felt as strain to a country’s economic development, which affects the low and middle income countries because chronic disease creates a double burden besides infectious diseases. Increased prevalence of chronic diseases is seen as an underlying cause of poverty, which hinders development in most countries. According to World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 16 million deaths occur each year in people under the age of 70, which the working and income-generating class. This nullifies the notion that only the aged are affected. Hypothetical Scenario A patient complains of heightened fatigue and shortness of breath after undertaking in relatively light duties. The patient indicated no breathing problems while at rest. However, the patient was not well rested following a night’s sleep and the morning were characterised by persistent headaches. Patient’s history illustrated a severe trauma to the head and chest in a car accident a few years ago. The patient also indicated that he was a moderate smoker taking less than a pack a day.