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Part of a Radio 4 series in which a panel of experts discuss real-life cases to explore the workings of clinical ethics committees. A woman is brought to A&E by her husband . She is unconscious... having attempted suicide. She's been in pain for more than 30 years with severe arthritis. Having witnessed elderly relatives' death in distressing circumstances years ago, she and her husband have written living wills or advance directives. They ask for no medical treatment in certain circumstances. She has always maintained with everyone she knew that she doesn't ever want to be admitted to intensive care. She has left five copies of her advance directive with her husband, sister, daughter, lawyer and GP. The staff in A&E are torn about what to do - should they admit her to intensive care and save her life, or let her die? What should hospital staff do? Do they admit her to A&E against the spirit of her advanced directive or give basic treatment knowing it might prolong her life against her wishes but prevent a slow painful death caused by the overdose? Joan Bakewell is joined by a panel of experts to discuss the complex ethical issues around advanced directives and decision making at the end of life.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Series: Inside the ethics committee; Series 6
Episode 4
First transmission date: 2010-08-10
Original broadcast channel: BBC Radio 4
Published: 2010
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OU Digital Archive web pages.
Duration: 00:41:24
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Producer: Pam Rutherford
Contributors: Joan Bakewell; Deborah Bowman; Andrew Hartle; Debbie Purdy
Publisher: BBC Open University
Subject terms: Advance directives (Medical care); Living wills; Medical ethics committees; Patient compliance; Patient refusal of treatment; Suicidal behavior--Treatment
Production number: AUDA535B
Available to public: no