As is often the case with healthcare treatment dilemmas, it matters in what “voice” an ethical difficulty is related. In this instance, the voice of the healthcare team is clearly heard as the patient’s medical condition is described. The voice of the patient is heard as she cries out in pain. The patient’s son’s voice is heard as he identifies the religious guidelines that must be observed in his mother’s care. Finally, it is the voice of the Hospital Ethics Committee that is heard as it deliberates the questions brought to it.
William Dorman, D.Min., is Director of Chaplaincy Services at Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque, New Mexico.