“Interdisciplinary” ethics committee – Lymphoma Case Study


Think like an “interdisciplinary” ethics committee.  Chapter 10 contains information on Ethics Committees.

Review the case below and adopt 2-3 roles (below) and develop a response to this case.  The perspective of each role you choose may look different.  For example, a CEO will respond differently than a physician than will a nurse.

Case for review:

Jimmy is an 11-year old boy who suffers from lymphoma.  His oncologist has indicated that without chemotherapy, he is likely to die within 6 months.  She has also indicated that in most cases, chemotherapy provides an effective cure in only 20 percent of cases like Jimmy’s; in most cases, chemotherapy produces at best an additional 3-6 month extension of life.

Jimmy is also compromised by an incurable neurological disease.  This disease will eventually make it impossible for him to walk, talk or use his hands effectively.  Already, he speech is slurred and he cannot hold a pencil.  Even without lymphoma, the prognosis– because of the neurological disease– is death by the age of 18.

Jimmy has been raised in a strong religious environment, and his belief in God has been an important comforting factor to him.  After having the facts fully explained to him, he has accepted his situation and the inevitability of his death at a young age.  He says he does not want the chemotherapy and that he is ready to “go to God.”  His parents, however, cannot reconcile themselves to losing Jimmy.  They want to override his decision/proceed with chemotherapy.

Adopt 2-3 of these roles and develop a response to the case.  Include specific perspectives for each role you adopt:

– Administrator/CEO
– Physician
– Nurse
– Oncologist
– Social Worker
– Psychologist
– Clergy/Chaplain
– Community member
– Lawyer
– Ethicist
– Health Services Administration/Health Professions Undergraduate Student