Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Another Ethical Conundrum [Updated & Bumped]

By now, you've probably read about the death of an elderly woman in a California "nursing home." While the loss of life is sad, it's important to cut through the chattering to look at what really seems to have happened.

As I read through various accounts, it became clear to me that the "nursing home" was anything but: it was a retirement "home" which offered little to no care. And, in fact, would-be residents sign a consent form acknowledging this. The home itself appears to be part of a three-level "continuum" of care: those with little or no need for medical help are in the retirement section; those who need some additional levels of care are in an assisted living facility; and those who need skilled care are in an area geared towards their special needs.

Assuming this is correct (and it seems to be), then the sequence of events makes sense: after all, if you live in (say) an apartment complex, you don't expect the landlord to do anything more than call 911. It seems to me that, despite the hue and cry of cold-hearted capitalism, the onus is on the retiree ("tenant"), not the folks at the front desk. If one has agreed - in writing - to a certain level of non-care, then that is what one should receive: no more, and no less.

What say you?

Should the retirement home be held accountable for the death of a resident? free polls 
[UPDATE] Thanks to FoIB Holly R, we now learn that the "victim" in this little tale had left explicit instructions that she "die naturally and without any kind of life prolonging intervention."

So, does that change the calculus here?

How about this, then:

"[T]he company issued a statement saying the employee's failure to heed a 911 dispatcher's was the result of a misunderstanding of the company's emergency medical practices."

Curioser and curioser.

[Originally posted March 5, 2013]
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