The Doctor's Dilemma

autonomy and informed consent

zenobia, age 80, live about 50 miles from a town with medical care. About a year ago, cancer of the colon was discovered. The physician who diagnosed the condition wanted to use chemotheraphy, which he estimated had a 50 percent chance of bringing about a remission of several years in a woman her age. Zenobia refuses treatment because the treatment is painful, expensive, involces trips to another town 100 miles distant. Aside from the cancer, Zenobia has extremely health for a woman of her age.

Now,.Zenobia has been hospitalized.with pneumonia. She is delirious when a neighbor brings her in. she has no children or relatives. She will die of cancer in few weeks.

Is it medically indicated to treat.pneumonia in an old woman dying of cancer? Do her previous reason for refusinh treatment for cancer still hold since she is now.actually in the hospital? In the absence of family member, who has the right to make decision about her treatment? (See informed Consent)

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