A Protocol for Living?: the Ethical Dilemma of Life Support

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A Protocol for Living?: The Ethical Dilemma of Life Support In life, we are given innumerable second chances. A make-up quiz in Chemistry. Another try at marriage. An opportunity to start life over in the Witness Protection Program. And finally, our lives. In a hospital, doctors are bequeathed with the gift of rekindling a patient’s CNS, heart, and even brain. They can give us our second chances at life and prolong our mortality. However, this comes with the immense baggage accompanying tough decisions in clinical settings. If someone suffering from a severe coma is admitted into a hospital, is it the doctor’s responsibility to decide whether or not the patient deserves to live? What if the costs to sustain them aren’t proportional to the chance that they may make it through their condition? The issue regarding care of vegetative patients paints a gray area between right and wrong action; doctors alone must grapple with the ethical dilemmas surrounding patients with debilitating conditions. Kjell Asplund and Mona Britton, authors of Ethics of life support in patients with severe stroke, argue that there is a specific protocol that should be followed in order to deal with the multitude of ethical complications coma patients introduce. I disagree with this argument, because I think that the quantification of one’s life is an inhumane and ineffective method of treating patients. As an idealistic student aspiring to pursue allopathic medicine, I believe that the field I immerse myself in should not be an environment bogged down with impediments to moral action. Instead of a rigid method, I think that a case-by-case method remains the most appropriate action for patients with severe brain malfunctions. Before we delve into the moral implications surrounding care for stroke patients, it is important to understand what a stroke is. Strokes, or

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