Health Care Agents: Appointing One and Being One
Benefits and Burdens continued...
However, a benefit from one point of view can be experienced as a burden
from another and might be viewed differently by doctors, patients and families.
For example, if a patient's heart stops, is resuscitated, and the heart starts
beating again, this is a successful outcome from a medical point of view and a
doctor may consider it a benefit. To the patient who is dying from a serious
illness or disease, resuscitation may cause further injury and only contribute
to the overall experience of suffering. This success, from the doctor's point
of view, might actually be experienced as an additional burden by the patient.
Discussions of the benefits and burdens of medical treatments should occur
within the framework of the patient's overall condition and goals for care.
The ability to understand the nature and consequences of health care
An event in which the heart stops beating, causing all body functions to
shut down, including breathing.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
CPR is the medical treatment used by health care providers to restart the
heart and/or restore the breathing of someone who suffers a cardiac or
respiratory arrest. CPR involves a group of procedures that may include
artificial respiration and intubation to support or restore breathing, and
chest compression or the use of electric stimulation or medication to support
or restore heart function.
Do-Not-Intubate (DNI) order
A physician's written instructions to health care providers not to intubate
(see "intubation" below) a patient who is experiencing breathing
Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) order
A physician's written instructions to health care providers not to perform
CPR if a person experiences cardiac or respiratory arrest.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
A group of governmental and private agencies that provide emergency care,
usually to people outside of health care facilities; EMS personnel generally
include paramedics, first responders and other ambulance crews.
The person named in an advance directive or as permitted under state law to
make health care decisions on behalf a person who is no longer able to make
A program to deliver palliative care to individuals who are in the final
states of a terminal illness. In addition to providing palliative care and
personal support to the patient, hospice includes support for the patient's
family while the patient is dying and grief support for up to one year after
the patient's death.
Refers to "endotracheal intubation" the insertion of a tube through
the mouth or nose into the trachea (windpipe) to create and maintain an open
airway to assist breathing.
Treatments (medical procedures) that replace or support an essential bodily
function (may also be called life support treatments). Life-sustaining
treatments include CPR, mechanical ventilation, artificial nutrition and
hydration, dialysis, and other treatments.