Case Study I think Mrs. Robaczynski killed Mr. Gessner. The nurse disconnected the respirator without the patient’s authorization. Therefore, the nurse cannot argue that she was acting in the patient’s best interest because his needs and concerns were never identified and considered before the decision to disconnect the respirator. Although the patient was suffering from multiple ailments, he never expressed his desire that the life-sustaining interventions be withdrawn. The nurse violated the patient’s autonomy and right to life while assuming that she was helping to end his pain and suffering (Masters, 2013). Mrs. Robaczynski actions would have still been illegal even if the patient were brain dead. The nurse cannot assume the decision-making role for a patient in a vegetable state unless she is his legal surrogate. Furthermore, there was no deliberate and systematic review of systems by a competent physician to determine the futility and burdensomeness of the ongoing interventions before they were terminated.
I would view Mrs. Robaczynski’s actions differently if Mr. Gessner requested to be disconnected from the respirator. In this case, the patient’s autonomy to choose whether to participate or withdraw from the life-sustaining interventions would have been respected. Therefore, the nurse would have been acting in the best interest of the patient (Fry, Veatch, & Taylor, 2010). Some key requirements should be fulfilled in order for Mrs. Robaczynski’s actions to be acceptable. First, Mr. Gessner must be of sound mind at the time of giving his consent to the withdrawal of the respirator. The patient’s surrogate should give the consent if the patient is of unsound mind. Secondly, the patient’s condition should be such that continuing the life-sustaining interventions would have little or no benefits to him.
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