Ethical dilemmas in healthcare are complex and often require careful consideration and analysis. In Case Study 2, we are presented with a 57-year-old man who has been diagnosed with motor neuron disease two years ago. In order to make an informed decision, it is crucial to conduct a thorough diagnosis to determine the stage of the disease and any potential comorbid conditions.
Several diagnostic tests can be carried out to aid in this decision-making process. An electromyogram, muscle biopsy, and MRI can provide essential information about the patient’s condition (Jaworska, 2017). Additionally, a diagnostic assessment for dementia should be conducted to assess the patient’s cognitive abilities and capacity to make sound decisions.
If the patient is diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, the most immediate family member, in this case, the wife, would have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the patient. It is important to consider the principles of beneficence and non-maleficence in managing the patient’s condition (Dharmadasa et al., 2017). A comprehensive assessment of the patient’s home environment should be conducted, comparing the benefits and risks of staying at home versus the hospice, as requested by the patient.
Moreover, it is crucial to educate both the patient and the wife about the patient’s health condition. The patient should be informed that their symptoms can be managed to prolong their life and enhance their comfort. They should understand that they have the option of living longer and maintaining a good quality of life (Smebye, Kirkevold, & Engedal, 2016). This information might influence the patient’s treatment decisions. It is advisable to have a discussion involving both the wife and the patient to ensure that all perspectives are considered, and the optimal healthcare is provided.
Ethical dilemmas in neurodegenerative diseases, such as motor neuron disease and dementia, pose unique challenges for healthcare professionals. Motor neuron disease is a progressive condition that affects the nerves responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement. The disease leads to muscle weakness, atrophy, and eventually, complete paralysis (Dharmadasa et al., 2017). Frontotemporal dementia, on the other hand, is a neurodegenerative disorder that specifically affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, leading to changes in behavior, personality, and language skills.
Respecting patients with neurodegenerative diseases requires a careful balance between autonomy and their best interests. People with dementia often express the desire to live at home for as long as possible, maintaining their autonomy and familiarity. However, this can raise ethical dilemmas when their cognitive abilities deteriorate, and their safety and well-being are compromised (Smebye et al., 2016).
In Case Study 2, determining the best course of action for the patient involves considering various factors, including the stage of the motor neuron disease, the presence of frontotemporal dementia, and the patient’s and wife’s preferences and values. It is essential to engage in a comprehensive and transparent decision-making process that includes the patient, the wife, and the healthcare team.
In conclusion, ethical dilemmas in healthcare, particularly in cases involving neurodegenerative diseases, require careful evaluation and consideration. Case Study 2 highlights the importance of conducting a thorough diagnosis to determine the stage of the disease and any comorbid conditions. The principles of beneficence and non-maleficence should guide decision-making, taking into account the patient’s prognosis and the wife’s role as a surrogate decision-maker. Educating the patient and the wife about the condition, treatment options, and potential outcomes can help facilitate informed decision-making. A collaborative approach involving all parties is crucial to ensuring the delivery of optimal healthcare to the patient.