This case study is adapted from a real situation. All names are aliases, and any identifiers are removed for privacy.
Garry is a 72 year-old man who is living with end-stage cancer and has just been moved to hospice care in a Long Term Care facility. Garry’s mind is still sharp, but he is becoming withdrawn and depressed. You are one of his regular care providers, and you have become concerned about Garry’s mental health, as his formerly cheery disposition seems to have changed drastically from when you first met him. One day, you’re in the room tidying up while Garry is visiting with his daughter. You overhear Garry state to his daughter that he doesn’t see the point of being here anymore and he wants to have a doctor help him pass. His daughter is horrified that her father would even say such a thing, and comments that she knows her father doesn’t really mean it because he has always been against medically-assisted death in the past. What will you do?
- To what extent should your concerns about Garry’s mental health impact your response?
- How should your own views about the ethics of medically-assisted death inform your response to Garry?
- What actions should you take next, if any, and why?
Write down your answers. You will then revisit these responses at the end of this chapter. If you think of additional answers as you progress through this chapter, please add them to your notes.