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


Capella University

PHI FPX 3200 Ethics in Health Care

Prof. Name


Should Life Support Be Withheld? The Case of Mr. Martinez

The decision to limit life support involves intricate ethical considerations and profound emotional ramifications. Ethical principles such as autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice are crucial in guiding such decisions (Cohen, Crespo, & White, 2020).

Mr. Martinez’s Case Description

Mr. Martinez, diagnosed with COPD, chose not to utilize life support measures like CPR, understanding the limited efficacy of medical interventions. He and his wife signed a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order, indicating his preference not to receive life support under poor prognoses. This decision is ethically complex, balancing autonomy, which grants Mr. Martinez decision-making authority, and the principle of nonmaleficence, obliging healthcare providers to avoid harm while respecting patient choices (Zhang & Min, 2020).

Moral Issues Associated with Limiting Life Support

The debate surrounding life support centers on conflicting moral beliefs. Advocates argue against allowing someone to die, while opponents stress the immorality of prolonging suffering. Healthcare providers grapple with ethical dilemmas concerning individual autonomy, beneficence, distributive justice, and familial impact (Barello, Palamenghi, & Graffigna, 2020).

Ethical Principles when Considering Limiting Life Support

Respecting patient autonomy is paramount, allowing individuals to make informed decisions regarding their care, particularly in end-of-life contexts. Beneficence necessitates assessing whether continued treatment benefits the patient or exacerbates suffering. Nonmaleficence requires healthcare providers to minimize harm, and distributive justice demands equitable allocation of resources (Stein & Song, 2021).

Real-World Consequences of Ignoring Ethical Principles

Neglecting ethical principles in end-of-life care can lead to violations of patient autonomy, causing emotional distress and undermining trust. Ignoring beneficence may subject patients to unnecessary suffering, while disregarding nonmaleficence can result in harm. Inequities may persist if justice is not upheld, particularly affecting marginalized communities (Childress & Beauchamp, 2021).

Important Considerations when Contemplating Limiting Life Support

Decisions regarding life support must consider patient autonomy, medical prognosis, quality of life, and legal/ethical obligations. Mr. Martinez’s case underscores the importance of respecting patient autonomy, evaluating prognosis, prioritizing quality of life, and adhering to ethical and legal guidelines (Minello et al., 2019).

Recommendation for Decision Making

Decisions to limit life support should align with the patient’s medical prognosis and personal values. Healthcare providers should respect patient autonomy and recommend interventions consistent with their goals (Rababa & Al-Rawashdeh, 2020).


The decision to withhold or limit life support entails navigating intricate ethical considerations. Mr. Martinez’s case underscores the importance of respecting autonomy, considering beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice, and aligning decisions with patient values. Healthcare providers must ensure compassionate, patient-centered care that upholds dignity and respects individual wishes (Ghiggia et al., 2021).


Barello, S., Palamenghi, L., & Graffigna, G. (2020). The mediating role of the patient health engagement model on the relationship between patient perceived autonomy supportive healthcare climate and health literacy skills. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(5), 1741.

Blomberg, A.-C., Bisholt, B., & Lindwall, L. (2019). Value conflicts in perioperative practice. Nursing Ethics, 26(7-8), 2213–2224.

Childress, J. F., & Beauchamp, T. L. (2021). Common morality principles in biomedical ethics: Responses to critics. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 31(2), 1–13.

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

Cohen, I. G., Crespo, A. M., & White, D. B. (2020). Potential legal liability for withdrawing or withholding ventilators during covid-19. JAMA

Flammer, E., Frank, U., & Steinert, T. (2020). Freedom restrictive coercive measures in forensic psychiatry. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11

Ghiggia, A., Pierotti, V., Tesio, V., & Bovero, A. (2021). Personality matters: Relationship between personality characteristics, spirituality, demoralization, and perceived quality of life in a sample of end-of-life cancer patients.

Minello, C., George, B., Allano, G., Maindet, C., Burnod, A., & Lemaire, A. (2019). Assessing cancer pain: The first step toward improving patients’ quality of life. Supportive Care in Cancer, 27(8), 3095–3104.

Omidifar, N., bafti, A. H., Shokripour, M., Amini, M., Erana-Rojas, I. E., & Moghimizadeh, M. (2022). Pathologists’ professional lifestyle: Excellence in practice, ethics, education, health promotion, and personal life. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 11

Rababa, M., & Al-Rawashdeh, S. (2020). Critical care nurses’ critical thinking and decision making related to pain management. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 63, 103000.

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

Rezaei Aghdam, A., Watson, J., Cliff, C., & Miah, S. J. (2019). Improving theoretical understanding towards patient-driven healthcare innovation

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