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Case 1: Autonomy pt 1

Submitted by liamharvey on Wed, 03/07/2018 - 07:43

A man is discovered unconscious outside a Miami hospital and in deteriorating condition. When brought to the emergency room, doctors remove the man’s shirt to resuscitate him, only to find a tattoo on his chest that reads “Do Not Resuscitate”.  The man was found with no identification on him and no family or friends with him; there was no way to tell if his tattoo expressed his true wishes. The doctors discovered the patient had an infection that led to septic shock, which causes organ failure and extremely low blood pressure. The doctors had to decide soon as the patient would die, but how could they know if the tattoo really showed the patients wishes? What if the tattoo was very old and the patient hadn’t had the chance to remove it? The doctors decided initially to give the man a breathing mask, but before putting the man on any kind of life support the doctors spoke to an ethics consultant.