Spinal Cord Injury, Life Sustaining Treatment, and Clinical Ethics—Nuances in Respecting and Understanding Autonomous Choice When a patient decides to forego life-sustaining treatment it can be a challenging situation for all parties involved. Patients who have decision-making capacity have the right to accept or refuse medical treatment. It is critical for clinicians to understand how to deal with these cases and what information and supports ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2011
Spinal Cord Injury, Life Sustaining Treatment, and Clinical Ethics—Nuances in Respecting and Understanding Autonomous Choice
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lynne Brady Wagner
    Stroke Rehabilition Program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston, MA
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Healthcare Settings / Professional Issues & Training / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2011
Spinal Cord Injury, Life Sustaining Treatment, and Clinical Ethics—Nuances in Respecting and Understanding Autonomous Choice
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2011, Vol. 20, 23-27. doi:10.1044/sasd20.1.23
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2011, Vol. 20, 23-27. doi:10.1044/sasd20.1.23

When a patient decides to forego life-sustaining treatment it can be a challenging situation for all parties involved. Patients who have decision-making capacity have the right to accept or refuse medical treatment. It is critical for clinicians to understand how to deal with these cases and what information and supports can be provided to patients to help them make fully informed and self-determining decisions. When a patient is facing a life with severe disability special considerations and an experienced approach are important in helping patients understand the full range of options. This case-based discussion will explore some of the issues involved in a scenario of a patient with a cervical spinal cord injury who requests to terminate his ventilator. Suggestions for managing situations such as these will be described.

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