Retaining Hope While Respecting Patients’ Presumed Wishes: How Substituted Judgement Can Help

  • Natalie Karine Hardy Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics, Saint Louis University, Missouri, USA https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4714-6029
  • Nico Nortje Critical Care Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, University of Texas, Texas, USA
Keywords: substituted judgement, lung cancer, decision making, ethics

Abstract

It is not uncommon for families to wait in hopes of receiving test results that show a treatable mutation, such as in the case of lung cancer. Waiting for such test results can distract families from focusing on a patient’s current pain and suffering, especially when families experience heightened emotions and anticipatory grief. The substituted judgement standard can be helpful in resolving ethical dilemmas by encouraging families to think about what decision a patient would have made if competent, thus preventing unnecessary pain and suffering. This case study sheds light on how the substituted judgement standard was used with a patient’s family and how the family’s hope for a treatable mutation affected their perception of the patient’s clinical condition.

Published
2022-03-01
How to Cite
[1]
Hardy NK, Nortje N. Retaining Hope While Respecting Patients’ Presumed Wishes: How Substituted Judgement Can Help . Can. J. Bioeth. 2022;5:143-5. https://doi.org/10.7202/1087214ar.
Section
Case studies