Tue, 18 January 2011
In this KosmosOnline Podcast, Jeanne Hoffman talks with Dr. Bill Glod about his paper, "Conditional Preferences and Refusal of Treatment," recently published in HEC Forum.
In this essay, I will use a minimalist standard of decision-making capacity (DMC) to ascertain two cases in the medical ethics literature: the 1978 case of Mary C. Northern and a more recent case involving a paranoid war veteran (call him Jack). In both cases the patients refuse medical treatment out of denial that they are genuinely ill. I believe these cases illustrate two matters: (1) the need of holding oneself to a minimal DMC standard so as to make as salient as possible the patient's own reasons for sometimes unusual treatment denials; (2) the need for clinicians and other relevant parties to exercise great sensitivity toward engaging, on the patient's own terms, idiosyncratic treatment refusals through regard for what I will call the patient’s conditional preferences. These are particularly relevant matters when a patient’s DMC is questionable yet he/she registers what may well be his/her settled preferences