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Treating Ed

A Medical Ethics Case Study


Eric Ribbens
Department of Biological Sciences
Western Illinois University


Ed is dying. How should his wishes for medical treatment be carried out? As the case unfolds, students explore the rights and responsibilities of doctors, patients, and patient representatives regarding difficult medical decisions. Specifically, students consider the ramifications of Advance Directives and Durable Powers of Attorney. The case was written for an introductory biology course, but could easily be used in or modified for a human anatomy and physiology, introductory nursing, or medical ethics course.

  • Consider the ramifications of advance directives and durable powers of attorney in making medical decisions.
  • Explore what rights and responsibilities regarding durable powers of attorney and other advance directive paperwork doctors have, patients have, and people appointed as patient representatives have.
Keywords: Medical ethics; patient care; end-of-life decisions; advance directive; durable power of attorney; living will; healthcare proxy; Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996; HIPPA
Topical Area: Ethics, Legal issues
Educational Level: Undergraduate upper division, Professional (degree program), General public & informal education, Continuing education
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Dilemma/Decision, Discussion, Role-Play
Language: English
Subject Headings: Medicine (General)   Biology (General)   Nursing  
Date Posted: 02/05/08
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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