23 Sep Discussion: Case Studies of Legal Issues Medical s
Discussion: Case Studies of Legal Issues Medical social workers play an integral role assupport for patients and their families at the end of a patient’s life.Most physicians are not equipped to handle the emotional aspects at theend of life. Therefore, more often than not, medical social workers arethe principal health care professional involved in educating, mediating,and coordinating end of life plans. In this capacity, medical socialworkers are charged with informing patients and their families aboutend-of-life decisions and providing counseling around these issues.Medical social workers must understand the terminology, technology, andlegal issues that can dictate end-of-life care.Consider the following cases:End-of-Life Care: Case 1Roger is a 43-year-old African American malediagnosed with HIV/AIDS and renal failure. He was recently admitted tothe intensive care unit and put on a ventilator due to medicaldeterioration. The doctors inform his wife that there is no chance thathis condition will improve and explain that he is being kept alive bythe machines. Roger’s wife is distraught but knows that Roger did notwant to be kept alive by a machine. The medical social worker goes toRoger’s chart and finds his medical power of attorney. Roger’s wife islisted as his agent; however, the document was not signed by twowitnesses as required.End-of-Life Care: Case 2Margaret is a 72-year-old female with severecardiovascular disease. She is admitted to the hospital after a stroke.There is no indication that she will recover and, if so, to what levelof functioning. The doctors have informed her family that she isexperiencing cardiac issues that might lead to heart failure. Shouldthis happen, the doctors will have to take efforts to resuscitate her.The medical social worker and the doctor meet with the family to discussa do not resuscitate order. The family is completely overwhelmed. Theydo not fully understand what the doctor is saying and they are indisagreement about what to do.To prepare for this Discussion, review this week’s resources including the case studies. Select one of the cases. Think about the end-of-life issues including living wills or medical power of attorney.By Day 3Post an explanation of how youas a medical social worker would handle the case you selected. Explainthe services you might offer to the family within the applicable lawsand your scope of practice. Explain the methods and practices you mightemploy to educate this family regarding the legal issues surrounding thecase. Then, explain the purpose, benefits, and legal ramifications ofliving wills, medical power of attorney, and advance directives.Finally, explain the advocacy role you might play on behalf of thepatient and patient’s family in this case.