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Unformatted text preview: Withholding Nutrition: An Ethical Dilemma by Kathryn Bosch written for NUR 430: Theoretical Aspects of Nursing Grand Valley State University I , are among the most controver- sial. Controversies range from whether war is ethical to whether it is permissible to kill animals for clothing or food. ese issues provoke a great deal of emotion in people simply because they deal with the very sensitive subjects of life and death. In addition, these issues deal with matters of personal freedom, justice, and protection from harm, making them even more contentious. Nurses are often faced with both life and death as part of their profession. For most nurses, dealing with a patients death is an expected, but di cult part of nursing. Dealing with death from natural causes is challenging enough, but issues such as abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, and withdrawal from life support force nurses to make some complex de- cisions regarding life and death. Many times these issues are ethical dilemmas: the choices are equally right or wrong. Despite the fact that there are no easy answers, nurses are sometimes forced to make choices about these issues. One example of a nurse having to make a complex decision regarding life and death is found in the movie Code Gray (Sawyer, 1983). In this movie, D.J. is a profoundly retarded infant who is a ward of the state. It is unlikely that D.J. will ever see, talk, walk, or hear. She is unable to suck, so she must be fed through a nasogastric tube. She often vomits after her feedings, making it di cult to keep her nourished. D.J. also has immature temperature regulating mechanisms. She cannot be held outside of the incubator for any length of time because she becomes hypothermic. One nurse feels that it is her responsibility to provide basic nursing care to D.J., so she diligently feeds her through the nasogastric tube and takes the measures necessary to keep her body temperature regulated. Another nurse feels that continuing to feed D.J. is just prolonging her death and putting her through discomfort in the process. Whether or not to continue feeding D.J. is an ethical dilemma. Both sides could argue their opinion using ethical and legal issues as well as personal values. In this paper I will de- scribe, compare, and contrast ethical principles and legal issues that relate to D.J.s situation. I will also discuss my own values that pertain to this situation. Included in this discussion is the etiology of my values, how they have changed over time, and how they compare with those of the nursing profession....
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2011 for the course WRT 305 taught by Professor Kaneko during the Winter '11 term at Grand Valley State University.
- Winter '11