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Medical Ethics for ED Docs Meira Louis Dr. Carol Holmen.

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Presentation on theme: "Medical Ethics for ED Docs Meira Louis Dr. Carol Holmen."— Presentation transcript:

1 Medical Ethics for ED Docs Meira Louis Dr. Carol Holmen

2 With Thanks... Dr. Carol Holmen Dr. Moritz Haager Dr. Rebecca Burton-MacLeod

3 Goals To address practical ethical issues that arise in your daily shifts To discuss an approach to solving those issues To raise awareness of resources you can use

4 Content Consent, Capacity, and Refusal of Care Confidentiality End of Life Care and Resuscitation Negotiations

5 What’s different about the ED? Most literature focused on non-acute setting Pts present with rapid change in health Little continuity of care / familiarity with pt Lack of reliable information Need to make rapid potential life or death decisions with limited information Pts often not in ED of their own volition Pts often impaired, noncompliant, or hostile

6 Overarching Principles Autonomy Beneficence Justice

7 Decision Framework 1.What is the dilemma? 2.What are the alternatives? 3.Principles: 1.What does the patient want? 2.What can be done? 3.What is fair? 4.Are there situational factors (context)? 5.Propose a resolution From: Doing Right. Philip C Hebert. 1995

8 Then... Consider your choice critically – Formulate your choice as a maxim When would you use it? When would you be uncomfortable using it? – Talk to others – Use your resources Do the right thing!

9 Jonsen, Siegler, Winslade Medical Indications Patient Preferences Quality of Life Context Jonsen AR, Siegler M, Winslade WJ (eds): Clinical Ethics, 2nd ed. New York, MacMillan, 1992.

10 ED specific: Iserson 1.Is this a type of ethics problem for which you have already worked out a rule? 1.Yes  follow the rule 2.Can I buy some time? 1.Yes  buy some time 3.Follow these rules: 1.Impartiality: Would you be willing to have this happen to you? 2.Universality: Would you use this in all similar cases? 3.Interpersonal Justifiability: Would you defend this decision in public? Iserson KV: Emergency medicine and bioethics: a plan for an expanded view. J Emerg Med 1991;9:65-66.

11 Cases

12 Case 1 Mr. U is a 42-year-old professional who is living with his 14-year-old son and is involved in an acrimonious divorce. He is receiving drug therapy and weekly psychotherapy sessions for depression. Mr. U tells his psychiatrist that his wife makes him so crazy that at times he wants to kill her. He is concerned that in the heat of a confrontation he might act on this impulse. However, he recognizes that killing his wife would be devastating to his son, for whom he feels a great deal of affection and devotion.

13 Case 2 37yo male brought in for minor trauma Was driving and ran off the road Etoh level 76 Old charts show 6 prior MVC presentations, all with elevated etoh Is this a reportable condition?

14 Confidentiality Public Health Regulations – Mandatory reporting laws unfit drivers reportable infections Gunshots Stabbings Child abuse Dependent people abuse

15 Reportable Infections Acute Flaccid Paralysis, AIDS, Amoebiasis, Anthrax, Arboviral Encephaliditides, Botulism, Brucellosis, Campylobacteriosis, Chancroid, Chlamydia trachomatis, Cholera, Congenital Cytomegalovirus, Congenital Rubella Infection, Congenital Toxoplasmosis, Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, Cryptospodiosis, Cyclosporiasis, Dengue Fever, Diphtheria, E-coli O157:H7, Giardiasis, Gonococcal Infections, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B (Acute or Chronic), Hepatitis C, HIV, Invasive Haemophilus Influenzae, Invasive Meningococcal Disease, Invasive Pneumococcal Disease, Invasive Group A Streptococcal Disease, Legionellosis, Leprosy, Leptospirosis, Listeriosis, Lyme Disease, Lymphogranuloma Venereum, Malaria, Measles, Muco-Purulent Cervicitis, Mumps, Neonatal Herpes Simplex Infection, Non-Gonococcal Urethritis, Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, Pertussis, Poliomyelitis, Psittacosis, Q-Fever, Rabies, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Rubella, Salmonellosis, Shigellosis, Syphilis, Subacute Sclerosing Panencepahalitis, Tetanus, Trichinosis, Tuberculosis, Typhoid / Paratyphoid Fever, Typhus, Varicella (Chickenpox), Varicella Zoster, Vibrio Cholerae, Vibrio Parahemolyticus, West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever, Yersiniosis

16 What does the law say? Although such reporting is not mandatory under the Traffic Safety Act, physicians are protected from legal action when so doing. In provinces where physicians are required to report drivers who fail to meet generally accepted medical standards, physicians have been held liable for ignoring their statutory obligation. From CPSA guidelines on reporting unfit drivers.

17 Small Groups Split into pairs and take a case Discuss and prepare your suggestions for handling the situation Present your case and thoughts back to the group

18 Case 1 Mr N, aged 46 Presents intoxicated with an acute MI Chronic opiate abuser Consented for treatment in the ED and transferred to the ward Leaves AMA three days later Was the initial consent valid?

19 Case 2 24yo woman comes to ED for pelvic pain and nausea Routine labs are drawn and nursing sends a urine tox screen as they feel pt “looks sketchy” Beta is positive, US confirms viable 10 wk gestation Urine tox screen is positive for cocaine The patient becomes very angry when you try to discuss the risks of cocaine use in pregnancy and states “That is none of your business. I didn’t agree to a drug test!” Should this woman have been formally consented for the drug screen?

20 Consent Implied Consent – Patients actions in keeping with agreeing to test or treatment – Easton et al: What ED procedures fall under implied consent? Explicit Consent – Verbal or written, and documented on chart – More involved discussion of risks, benefits, and alternatives Defining the Scope of Implied Consent in the Emergency Department Raul B. Easton ; Mark A. Graber ; Jay Monnahan ; Jason Hughes. 2007.

21 Breaking the law Assault – Threatening to touch someone Battery – Touching someone without that persons agreement – Any intervention in the ED provided without consent in situations other than those where consent is not required The case of Giovanna Ciarlariello (1993, Ontario)

22 Case 3 Mr A, 85yo man who is sole caregiver to his demented wife Has a known 8.5cm AAA for which he has refused surgery after being told “he would never survive the operation” Presents with a rupture and no family can be contacted Can he be taken for emergency surgery?

23 When is consent not needed? – Wavier: “please skip the gory details” – Emergencies: If immediate threat to life or limb, and unable to give consent Exception: previous refusal of same tx. Suicide notes – Person lacking capacity and at acute risk Intoxicated drug OD pt wanting to leave May require invocation of Mental Health Act – Treatment of minors 12 yo child with non-accidental trauma

24 Case 4 Mr B., a 69yo man with severe Alzheimers disease in a nursing home Brought in for suspected pneumonia No documented LOC Wife will arrive in 30 minutes Should you proceed with treatment? If intubation is needed, can his wife legally agree to that?

25 Capacity vs Competency Competency is a legal determination made by a judge and is all or nothing Capacity exists on a spectrum, varies with time and condition and is task specific. NOTE: Alberta has no clear legal precedent for our common practice of having the closest family member act as substitute decision maker

26 Case 5 Mr H, 65yo man with manic depression, non- compliant with his lithium Brought to ED for acute stroke with a-fib Refuses to start warfarin therapy What questions do you need to ask to decide if he is legally able to make that choice?

27 Approach to Capacity Assessment Clinical Assessment – illness, metabolic derangement, intoxicants? Provide Information – nature of problem, tests/treatment, alternatives, outcomes of both accepting and refusing care Assess patient’s knowledge –understand consequences Ask why? Set the threshold – more serious consequences requires clearer understanding Make a decision

28 Case 6 43yo male with a toxic ethylene glycol ingestion Being held on a Form 1 Needs dialysis, but will not agree to have the catheter placed unless his form is cancelled and he is allowed out for a cigarette What do you do?

29 Case 7 Mr S, 51yo man with ACS Initial management is done and the pain disappears He wants to leave AMA as he is pain free and his brother died in hospital What should you do?

30 End of Life Care Roleplaying situations that can complicate good end of life care

31 Discussing Life Sustaining Treatments – Clarify Understanding premorbid condition, acute problem – Ask about prior wishes advance directive, substitute decision maker – Focus on goals talk about goals as opposed to treatments, outcomes acceptable to the patient – Match treatments with goals – Finish strong – offer an opinion, a reasonable plan, and emphasize that symptomatic care will be provided regardless “Include a statement that they are not responsible for the outcome”

32 Case One Mr Peterson, a 90yo male with asystole secondary to choking He has no advance directive You have gotten back a pulse and weak pressure Discussion between the wife and the clinician

33 Case Two Ms V, a 98 yr old female witnessed cardiac arrest by her son, who immediately performed CPR on scene. no ROSC they were unable to obtain IV access en route Family members are present and are requesting that everything be done Discussion between the son and clinician

34 Case Three Ms F, 18yo girl with massive SAH Neurosx recommends withdrawing care Family approaches you at handover re:mvmts she is making Discussion between the family and clinician re: possibilities of meaningful recovery

35 Case Four 94yo man who lives at home with minimal support Labs suspicious for ascending colangitis GI comes to FMC at 3am for emergent ERCP Prior to ERCP, R1 level of care. During procedure, sats drop to 60s, started on non-rebreather and sent back to ED On arrival in ED, ER doc who has been handed over pt declares “I’m not tubing a 94yo” ER doc calls family and states “his condition is poor, he would not survive the ICU. I recommend simply making him comfortable.” Post-phone call, pt level of care made C1 ICU not called, pt gets 2L of fluid and abx over next 4 hours, down to 2L by NP within one hour Grandson is confused as to whether he is being treated or not

36 Case Five Ms Y, 60yo woman with end stage pulmonary fibrosis Previous transplant candidate Previous intubations and stay in ICU 6 months ago She wishes to be reintubated Discussion between the husband and clinician about the best course of action

37 Case Six 85yo male found down at his lodge GCS 7 RR 26, HR 110, BP 90/60, Sats 92% on 6L SCM discharge summary from one month ago reveals end stage COPD on 3L home O2 M1 level of care at that time (As per SCM) Staff states “That was then, this is now. Let’s tube him, they can always take it out later” Discussion between daughter and clinician about whether to withdraw care now that he is tubed

38 Life Sustaining Treatment 1.You are turning a passive process into what will need to be an active withdrawal of care. 2.You have a small window of time. 3.Are you sure of your sources?

39 Good End of Life Care Control of pain and other symptoms Decisions on the use of life sustaining treatment/ Avoiding inappropriate prolongation of dying Support of dying patients and their families – Relieving burdens What is the patient most concerned about? – Achieving a sense of control Focus on treatment goals – Strengthening relationships with loved ones

40 How good are we at knowing? Prospective cohort study in Chicago hospices Only 20% of predictions about length of life were accurate Overall doctors overestimated survival by a factor of 5 Literature suggests a combination of clinical gestalt and objective tests Christakis NA, Lamont EB. Extent and determinants of error in doctors’ prognoses in terminally ill patients: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2000;320(7233):469–72. Glare P, Sinclair C, Downing M, Stone P, Maltoni M, Vigano A. Predicting survival in patients with advanced disease. Eur J Cancer. 2008 May;44(8):1146-56.

41 Resuscitation NEJM case study, May 2010

42 Questions?

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