A medical team considers withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration supporting a 6-month-old girl with complex cardiac disease, devastating neurological injury, and ongoing, unmanageable pain. Diffuse neurological injury and severe ischemia in all four limbs offers a bleak prognosis. Drawing on the bioethics literature on the subject, the following case presentation and analysis illustrates how a medical team and family can approach such a situation.
When technologically advanced medicine fails to “rescue [a patient] intact from the conditions of her birth,” professionals must rely even more squarely on the foundation of good medicine – human-centered caring. While we do not disagree with Mr. Teti’s ethical analysis, we believe that ethics consultants can (and should) do more to support the medical team in achieving this foundational goal.