Withdrawal from Dialytic Therapy

  • Eli A. Friedman
Part of the Legal and Ethical Concerns in Medicine book series (LECM, volume 1)


An 84 year old blind, widowed housekeeper who is unable to walk or care for herself because of a series of increasingly severe strokes has been undergoing maintenance hemodialysis for two years. Progressive deafness — now profound — prevents the patient’s use of talking books or even the radio. Distressed over worsening urinary and bowel incontinence, the patient requests that dialysis treatments be discontinued. She states that her decision is the result of months of thought and a discussion with her minister. The patient’s only living relative, a married daughter, rejects the concept of not continuing dialytic therapy until “the last spark of life is gone.” She threatens a law suit against the hospital and attending physician if any action toward stopping dialysis is taken. The hospital director orders the responsible nephrologist to continue dialysis indefinitely.


Advance Directive Hospital Director State Interest Dialysis Treatment Dialytic Therapy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eli A. Friedman
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Science Center at BrooklynState University of New YorkBrooklynUSA

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