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Betancourt V Trinitas And The Issue Of Futility In Modern Medical Practice

945 words - 4 pages

The Betancourt v. Trinitas case began with a conflict between the Betancourt family and the Trinitas Medical hospital. Rueben Betancourt is a seventy three year old man patient at the Trinitas Medical Hospital, admitted for surgery on his malignant thymoma. However after his surgery in 2008 the doctor diagnoses him with anoxic encephalopathy. Anoxic encephalopathy which is condition when the brain tissues does not receive enough oxygen to function and in Rueben case caused him to fall unconscious as well. His family than took him to various hospitals in order to provide treatment but it was unsuccessful in causing him to regain consciousness. He was readmitted to the Trinitas on July 3, 2008 ...view middle of the document...

They believed Rueben was responsive and therefore not in a permanent vegetative state. With him being responsive they wanted to continue the aggressive treatments in the hopes that he would recover consciousness. The daughter in her filing wanted to be appointed surrogate of Rueben, so she could make the decision on what treatments he would receive.
The hospital testified that Rueben is in a permanent vegetative state and they do not expect him to live more than a few months. They had various physicians testify that Rueben was actively dying and in contestant pain because he suffered from ulcers are on the bones due to chronic bone infection and sores. The reason why his family believes he is responsive is that Rueben does make eye movements however they are normal for patients in a permanent vegetative state. According to the Royal Physicians, “a patient in the vegetative state appears to be wakeful, with cycles of eye closure and opening resembling those of sleep and waking but there is no sign of awareness or of a functioning mind.” Rueben also does not respond to pain and cannot move in extremities. The physicians believe that dialysis treatment is inhumane.
The daughter after being appointed surrogate continues the court case with the hospital regarding in Rueben care. Her lawyer cites that case In Re Quinan (1976) and In Re Conroy both NJ court cases where the decisions both state that only the patients or his guardian is allowed to withhold treatment. The hospital counter that they are not trying to withdraw treatment from Rueben by merely trying to prove that physicians should not be forced to provide medical care when they believe treatment is inhumane. The hospital which is the defendant cites a case from Louisiana which does not really set a...

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