AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

AMA Journal of Ethics. June 2015, Volume 17, Number 6

Ethics Poll

    Difficult Decision in Rehab Medicine

    The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

    Do you think that research and treatment aimed at improving physical impairments send a message that living a life with impairments that are visible to others is less desirable than living a life without those impairments?
    Consider this: A person incurs severe injuries that will impair him or her for life, e.g., burns over much of the body, loss of limbs, spinal cord injury. The person is an adult, conscious, and on a ventilator. After two weeks and many difficult conversations with physicians and family about his or her prognosis, the patient expresses the wish to be taken off the ventilator and allowed to die. The patient is judged to have decision-making capacity and has not changed his or her mind about dying over time. Which of the following do you think is the more ethically justifiable way to proceed?
    Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of AMA Journal of Ethics readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.