The doctor, the family, and the choice
From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.
When a family member is unable to make decisions about medical care, it’s up to the family, but the doctor’s opinion typically carries great weight.
Dr. Alexia Torke of the Indiana University School of Medicine looked at doctors’ approaches to the advice they give. Some guided family members toward the doctor’s own preferences; some weighed family desires more.
Torke says family members have to work out their approaches with the doctor. And she says:
``If a family member does run into difficulties negotiating these things with physicians, there are other members of the hospital team that can be helpful, too. So a family member can turn to a social worker, nurse, or even a patient advocate.’’ (10 seconds)
The study in the Journal of Clinical Ethics was supported by HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration.
Learn more at hhs.gov.
HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.
Last revised: May 7, 2011