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ETHICS IN MEDICINE   University of Washington School of Medicine

Advance Directives:
Case 1

An elderly man with end-stage emphysema presents to the emergency room awake and alert and complaining of shortness of breath. An evaluation reveals that he has pneumonia. His condition deteriorates in the emergency room and he has impending respiratory failure, though he remains awake and alert. A copy of a signed and witnessed living will is in his chart stipulates that he wants no "invasive" medical procedures that would "serve only to prolong my death." No surrogate decision maker is available.

Should mechanical ventilation be instituted?

Discussion

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