PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 3 Should We Withhold Life Support? The Mr. Martinez Case

PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 3 Should We Withhold Life Support? The Mr. Martinez Case

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PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 3 Should We Withhold Life Support? The Mr. Martinez Case

Student Name

Capella University

PHI FPX 3200 Ethics in Health Care

Prof. Name


Should We Withhold Life Support? The Mr. Martinez Case

The decision to limit life support is a complex matter that involves ethical considerations and strong emotional implications. Ethical principles such as autonomy refer to the patient making their own decisions about their healthcare, beneficence demands healthcare professionals to act in the best interests of their patients, nonmaleficence dictates avoiding causing harm, and justice should be taken into account when considering the withholding of life support (Cohen et al., 2020).

Mr. Martinez’s Case Description

Mr. Martinez has been diagnosed with COPD. He understood that his condition was not likely to improve with medical interventions and, therefore, decided not to use life support measures like CPR. He and his wife signed a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order stating that he did not wish to receive life support if the prognosis was poor. This decision is very complicated from the perspective of ethical issues, as autonomy gives Martinez the right to make a decision about his conditions, while the theory of non-maleficence dictates that healthcare workers should avoid any harm to the patient. The healthcare providers must respect the patient’s decision and provide him with the care that he demands.

Moral Issues Associated with Limiting Life Support

The decision to limit life support has become a contentious ethical issue that has left many people at odds with their moral convictions. The advocates of life support argue that it would be a grave moral injustice to allow someone to die, while critics insist that prolonging their agony against their will would be equally immoral. Healthcare providers and caregivers find themselves grappling with a host of moral and ethical questions regarding the use of life support. These questions include valuing individual autonomy and their right to make informed decisions about their care, beneficence, distributive justice, and the impact on family and loved ones (Barello et al., 2020).

Autonomy gives the right to the patients to make informed decisions about their treatment and can refuse any care that they don’t want. This principle is especially important in end-of-life care’s sensitive and emotional context. Healthcare practitioners are required to respect the autonomy and decisions of patients. This is due to the ethical principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence, which require healthcare workers to always do what is best for the patient while avoiding inflicting damage (Zhang, 2020).

This means that life support should be limited, particularly when it is causing severe pain or discomfort. Furthermore, the principle of distributive justice also needs to be considered when limiting life support. This principle demands that healthcare resources be allocated fairly and equitably. Making this decision can be very challenging for healthcare officials when there is limited availability of resources (Soar et al., 2019). Decisions to limit life support must consider the availability of these resources and ensure that they are used fairly and equitably.


The analysis of end-of-life care is based on several assumptions that guide the delivery of care. The first assumption is ethical consideration; for patients, it is morally wrong to choose an end to life, but on the other hand, the healthcare providers must respect the patient’s decision according to autonomy. This concept dictates that every individual has the freedom to make decisions about their treatment, especially when it comes to end-of-life decisions (Flammer et al., 2020). Furthermore, healthcare providers are bound to give care that is best for the individual and will avoid causing harm. By recognizing and adhering to these assumptions, healthcare providers and caregivers can better support patients and their families.

Ethical Principles when Considering Limiting Life Support

Limiting life support is a challenging ethical issue that requires careful consideration of a range of ethical principles. In situations like these, the following ethical principles are critical to consider. Respect for autonomy involves acknowledging patients’ freedom to make healthcare decisions for themselves. Beneficence requires healthcare workers to act for the welfare of their patients, and they should consider whether continued treatment will provide any benefits to the patient or it will prolong their suffering. Nonmaleficence bound healthcare providers to avoid causing harm to their patients, and they should weigh the potential risks and benefits of continued treatment (Stein, 2021). Lastly, the principle of justice demands that healthcare resources should be distributed fairly and equitably. Ultimately, the goal should be to make a judgment that aligns with the patient’s values and goals and is ethically justifiable.

Real-World Consequences of Ignoring Ethical Principles

 In healthcare, ethical principles serve as the foundation for making sound and compassionate decisions that uphold the well-being of patients. This is particularly critical in end-of-life situations, where healthcare providers face the challenge of navigating complex decisions about providing life-sustaining treatments and delivering compassionate care to patients with terminal illnesses (Omidifar et al., 2022). The consequences of ignoring ethical principles in these situations can be severe and far-reaching. When the principle of respect for autonomy is disregarded, patients may receive treatments that contradict their values and preferences, leading to emotional distress and potential violations of their human rights. This can erode trust and communication between patients and healthcare providers, further complicating end-of-life care (Rezaei Aghdam et al., 2019). 

Neglecting the principle of beneficence can result in patients experiencing unnscecessary pain and suffering due to treatments that offer little or no benefit. Nonmaleficence is also critical in end-of-life situations, as patients may be at risk of harm from complications or medical errors if proper care is not taken (Childress, 2021). Finally, ignoring the principle of justice can perpetuate social and economic inequalities, particularly for marginalized communities that may already face significant barriers to healthcare access. 

Important Considerations when Contemplating Limiting Life Support

Contemplating limiting life support is a complex and sensitive issue that requires careful consideration of several important factors. Healthcare providers must balance the patient’s wishes and values with medical considerations and ethical principles. The case of Mr. Martinez, who has been diagnosed with COPD and has decided not to use life support measures like CPR, highlights several critical factors to consider. Firstly, healthcare workers must respect the individual’s autonomy and freedom to decide about their own care (Ghiggia et al., 2021). In this case, Mr. Martinez’s informed decision not to use life support measures was supported by a signed DNR order, indicating that he has the right to refuse treatment. 

Secondly, healthcare providers must consider the patient’s medical prognosis when contemplating limiting life support. Mr. Martinez’s diagnosis of COPD suggests that his condition is not likely to improve with medical interventions, indicating that the benefits of life-sustaining treatments may be limited. Thirdly, the patient’s quality of life should be taken into account when contemplating limiting life support. Mr. Martinez’s decision not to use life support measures indicates that he may prioritize maintaining his quality of life over prolonging his life. Healthcare providers must ensure that any interventions align with the patient’s goals for care and support their overall well-being (Minello et al., 2019).

Finally, ethical and legal considerations must be taken into account when making decisions about limiting life support. The signed DNR order indicates that Mr. Martinez’s decision was voluntary and informed and that he has the right to refuse treatment. Healthcare providers must also ensure that they are following appropriate legal and ethical guidelines when providing end-of-life care. By considering these critical factors, healthcare providers can ensure that they are providing compassionate, patient-centered care that upholds the patient’s dignity and respects their wishes and values (Blomberg et al., 2019). 

Recommendation for Decision Making

The recommendations involve that the decision to limit life support should be taken based on the patient’s medical prognosis. Also, healthcare providers should make recommendations for limiting life support that aligns with the values and goals of the patient (Rababa, 2020). This would ensure that the individual’s autonomy is respected and that they are not subjected to interventions that would not be effective in improving their medical condition.


In conclusion, withholding or limiting life support is a complex ethical issue that requires careful consideration of a range of factors. The case of Mr. Martinez highlights the importance of respecting patient autonomy and preferences, as well as the principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice when making such decisions. Healthcare providers must navigate the difficult decision of whether to continue life-sustaining treatment or limit it while considering the potential impact on a patient’s health and life quality. Ultimately, the goal should be to make a decision that is ethically sound, justifiable, and aligned with the patient’s values and goals. 


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PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 3 Should We Withhold Life Support? The Mr. Martinez Case

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PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 3 Should We Withhold Life Support? The Mr. Martinez Case

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