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ETHICS IN MEDICINE   University of Washington School of Medicine

Termination of Life-Sustaining Treatment:
Case 1

Mr. S is a 70-year-old man with end-stage COPD, admitted last month with pneumonia. His course was complicated by respiratory failure needing mechanical ventilation, and multiple efforts to wean him have been unsuccessful. Awake and alert, he now communicates through written notes that he wants the ventilator taken off.

What do you think his prognosis is? What else do you want to know before making this decision? If he is competent, will you honor his request?


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