Case Studies

The Rights and Responsibilities of Pregnant Women

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Is it ethically permissible for a woman to forego potentially life-saving treatment for her unborn child?

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Is it Permissibile to Forgo Life-Saving Dialysis?

Is it permissible to forgo life-saving dialysis in this man with a stroke based on his family’s refusal?

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Is It Permissible to Shut Off this Pacemaker?

The ethics consultant met with the patient and two of her daughters. Dorthea says she wants to die now because (a) she misses her husband who died three years ago after 45 years of marriage; they were very close, did everything together, and she says she can’t live without him; (b) she can’t stand to live in their home (memories), but refuses to move; and (c) she wants to “set her children free.” She has resisted attempts by her three daughters who have encouraged treatment, including grief counseling, and have even offered for her to live with them. She has guns in her home and knows how to use them, but she says she is unwilling to take her own life. She is an inactive Methodist. She says her only pleasure is having her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren visit, but she feels her misery is also making them miserable.

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Permissibility to Stop Off-Label Use of Expensive Drug Treatment for Child

Is it ethically permissible to stop the off-label use[1] of an expensive drug in this child with Gaucher’s disease since it is likely not working and she may be suffering because of its continued use?

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Permissibility to Stop Man's Ventilator on His Request

Is it ethically permissible to stop this man’s ventilator at his request?

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Permissibility to Accept Refusal of Potentially Life-Saving Treatment

This column presents a case that poses an ethical dilemma for patients, families and healthcare professionals. It is based on a real case, though some facts have been changed to preserve confidentiality. The story is presented to a Fellow of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, and his or her analysis is published for our readers. Our goal is to offer careful ethical analyses and recommendations that are consistent with biblical standards.

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