Whose Bed?

The Hastings Center Report (Impact Factor: 1.68). 03/2013; 43(2):13-14. DOI: 10.1002/hast.153
Source: PubMed


Richard, a sixty-seven-year-old man, has been admitted to Midtown University Center for difficulty breathing. He has a significant medical history that includes pulmonary fibrosis and subsequent heart failure, and he depends on supplemental oxygen to breathe. Upon admission and after discussing his prognosis with his family and doctors, Richard decided to sign a do-not-resuscitate order stating that if his heart stops or he stops breathing, he does not want to undergo cardiopulmonary resuscitation or other life-sustaining measures.
On his third day in the hospital, the nurse practitioner who is caring for Richard notices that his breathing is becoming more labored and that his blood pressure is steadily dropping. She thinks he requires closer observation and treatment in the cardiac intensive care unit. Dr. P, the physician in the intensive care unit at the time, Dr. P does not want to accept Richard into the CICU because of his prognosis and his DNR order. He believes that Richard should be cared for on a regular hospital floor, and that the last bed in the CICU should be held for its intended user—a patient suffering a life-threatening heart attack who requires intensive care.
Should Richard be admitted to the CICU?

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