[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
A Piece of My Mind
February 23, 2000

Attention Must Be Paid

JAMA. 2000;283(8):976. doi:10.1001/jama.283.8.976

Friday afternoon ethics consult: The patient, an elderly man with terminal colon cancer, had been rehospitalized for septicemia several weeks after a palliative procedure to remove the threat of obstruction. Things were not going well with Mr Dean. Yes, the antibiotics seemed to be doing their job and yes, his temperature was down, but George Dean had become more agitated than ever, especially at night, and kept pulling out his gastric feeding tube. Meanwhile, the surgical resident kept replacing it, albeit none too happily. After a day or two of this, the attending surgeon had ordered upper-body and wrist restraints to prevent his patient from pulling out the tube. Thereupon the nursing staff requested an ethics consult because they thought it might be unethical to use restraints in this situation.