Ethical dilemma

edited December 1969 in Random Issues
Healthcare professionals may experience frustration at the lack of specific resource that provides a ready answer to patients suffering from breast cancer through enrolling in clinical trials setting by which a reasonable expectation of steady improvement to their condition is extremely predictable based on information collected over the last few years. My dilemma is driven from the facts that care is extended over a limited period of time and to a limited number of patients. Shared decision making is commonly used in this process but I am the last one who sign off who is/who is not should receive this treatment.

It was impossible to know for sure how a person would react or feel upon getting bad health news -- seriously bad news, such as a breast cancer diagnosis let alone tell them we have what might save you but we can’t give it to you.

What do you do? I have lost sleep over the last three days once I was given this task.


  • if this is a clinical trial, surely someone senior to you has decided the trial is necessary, we heath care workers only do trials when the answer is not clear cut. many potential chemotherapy drugs have turned out to do more harm than good, so not giving the treatment may even be the best answer for the patient.

    a friend of mine recently died from breast cancer, after receiving a fairly new drug. her family were sure that taking a pill must be better than just 'waiting to die' but, in fact, it wasn't.
    but even in this case, God allowed her to have the kind if death that gave her a chance to plan for her future. she recovered enough from the side effects of the pills to leave hospital, she had chance to settle many things in her heart before God and become more peaceful, and she then died in a hospice, receiving good medical care that alleviated her symptoms and was visited by many family members and friends in her last days.

    the Bible tells us we will all die. dying from cancer or dying later from old age is less important than how your spirit is with God. i think you should not worry how your patients will die, but pray for them after you arrive home from work, and ask God how you can show them Jesus by your life.
    just think, they can smile because they have you looking after them and you care, instead of some hard person who see them, writes something and never smiles.

    and please pray for me, i start work in a new hospital today!
  •          I believe a good way to approach such situations would be to first ensure we do our sincere bit in easing their ordeal and then leaving it to God and their family to comfort them. For lots of patients, just talking and listening to them or holding their hands goes a long way in easing their depression. Its not easy, but trying to define or analyzing the situation in too much detail could only add to one’s frustration, stress and mental turmoil. I guess it helps to realize that there’s only so much we can physically do or even make sense of. Sooner or later, they (the patient and immediate family) would have to face up to reality. As sister mabsoota rightly said, its important that they start to see it as part of God’s plan and live in that spirit rather than looking at it as an misery-filled event with no hope thereafter.

    I lost an aunt and two cousins in a relatively short span, all very tragic and unexpected. My aunt passed away in the car, en-route to hospital and I was driving. Till she passed, she was gasping for breath and wailing while her husband desperately trying to sustain her.  For a while after that incident, I kept repeatedly asking myself if she could’ve been saved had I had done things differently-maybe if I knew CPR or if she could’ve reached the hospital a bit earlier. One of my cousins succumbed to breast cancer after a two-year battle and was cured. Or so we thought, till she had a relapse and found that the cancer had spread. I lost my other cousin in a bike accident, as he was returning from church after the anniversary prayers of his mother who passed away on that exact day the year before. What do we make of all this seemingly cruel events? How will the bereaved cope? Lots of questions without answers.

    I don’t think analyzing it in whatever depth would help. Thankfully, prayers and God’s grace have helped their families face up to life in their absence.

    Sorry for the rather long post, but I thought of sharing these prayers that I found quite comforting.

    Prayer of A Sick Person
    Heavenly Father, physician of our souls and bodies, Who have sent Your only-begotten Son and our Lord Jesus Christ to heal every sickness and infirmity, visit and heal also Your servant (name) from all physical and spiritual ailments through the grace of Your Christ. Grant him (her) patience in this sickness, strength of body and spirit, and recovery of health. Lord, You have taught us through Your word to pray for each other that we may be healed. I pray, heal Your servant (name) and grant to him (her) the gift of complete health. For You are the source of healing and to You I give glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
    O Lord our God, Who by a word alone did heal all diseases, Who did cure the kinswoman of Peter, You Who chastise with pity and heal according to Your goodness; Who are able to put aside every sickness and infirmity, do You Yourself, the same Lord, grant aid to Your servant (name) and cure him (her) of every sickness of which he (she) is grieved; and send down upon him (her) Your great mercy, and if it be Your will, give to him (her) health and a complete recovery; for You are the Physician of our souls and bodies, and to You do we send up Glory: to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Both now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

    Prayer for the Terminally Ill
    [i]Lord, Jesus Christ, Who suffered and died for our sins that we may live, if during our life we have sinned in word, deed or thought forgive us in Your goodness and love. All our hope we put in You; protect your servant (name) from all evil. We submit to Your will and into Your hands we commend our souls and bodies. For a Christian end to our lives, peaceful, without shame and suffering, and for a good account before the awesome judgment seat of Christ, we pray to you O Lord. Bless us, be merciful to us and grant us life eternal. Amen.

    Thanksgiving After Recovery
    Almighty God and heavenly Father, You are the fountain of life and healing. I bless Your holy name and offer to You thanks for having delivered me from sickness and restored me to health. Grant me Your eternal grace, I pray, that I may live a new life in true obedience to You. Guide me to do Your will in all things devoting my life to Your service. Thus living for You may I be found worthy of Your kingdom, where You dwell in glory with Your Son and Your Holy Spirit forever. Amen.
    O Lord God Jesus Christ, the Life and strength of all that put their hope in You, Whose mercies are numberless, and the treasury goodness that is infinite, we give thanks to You for the blessings which You have bestowed., and we humbly beseech You to continue Your goodness toward us. As You have been well pleased to restore us to our bodily health, so do imbue our souls with all the heavenly graces, perseverance in good works, and prepare us by Your blessings in this life for the enjoyment of eternal happiness in the Life to come. For to You are due all glory, honor, and worship, as also to Your Eternal Father and Your All-holy Good and Life-creating Spirit, both now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

    Best wishes and prayers, sister mabsoota, in your new endeavor.

    God bless you,
  • thanks for sharing, brother rpm.
    may God continue to give you grace and support in all things.
    the new job seems much better than my last one, for a start my boss smiles!
    thank God for His mercy.
  • mabsoota, Best Wishes On Your New Job.
  • shukran brother, u r kind  :)
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