Bioethics, Futility, housekeeping, Medical Futility

Sorry for the interruption

No technical difficulties, just attendance at Trinity International University’s Master of Arts in Bioethics. This week marked the last of my classes. The program can be taken as an “executive” course, similar to many of the Master’s of Business Administration courses which are attended in a couple of blocks of a few days at a time each semester. Last semester (Fall 2005) was the most intensive – 9 semester hours, with 4 days of class, usually from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. This time, it was only 3 days, 6hours, 10 hours, and then 7 hours, for 4 semester hours.

The tough class this time was “Clinical Ethics.” We had the privilege to learn under the guidance of one of the most experienced and qualified clinical ethicists, Dr. Robert Orr.

Wouldn’t you hate to have me for a student? Or, if you’re a fellow student, just imagine that the entire class is full of very bright men and women, who make you hope the teacher doesn’t grade on a curve. To make matters worse, half are as young as my children, and they make me feel as though I’m every bit of my 50 years and then some.

As I type, a postmenopausal osteoporosis ad is on TV. I can’t be that old, can I? But then, if I’m not that old, why did I pay attention to the Netscape ad for (replacement) “Knees designed for a woman,” yesterday?

Anyway, back to class for the last few days:
It turns out that I know all the words for “withdrawal of care,” but don’t really believe in the concept, except in the case of truly futile care: the actual, certain cases where we’re causing more pain than we’re relieving or “prolonging death.” On the other hand, at a gut level, I fully support a patient’s refusal of treatment and even food and water. Providing I’m allowed to wheedle, nag and beg while presenting tempting food, water and nutrition as often as I want. Along with the pharmaceuticals to prevent nausea.

I can’t find the “Mom’s Ethics: the Gut Factor” guidebook.

Edited 3/1/12 for spelling, Categories, BBN

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)


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