You have been working as a nurse in the adult oncology unit for the past year. You have developed a close relationship with many of your patients, but Mr. Newcomb has a special place in your heart. He has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and has undergone aggressive chemotherapy. Each day his wife has come to the unit to be with her husband. They have been married for over 40 years and share a deep love. Mr. and Mrs. Newcomb have made the decision to no longer continue with treatment and have decided that hospice care is needed. Over the past few days, you have watched Mr. Newcomb’s health decline, and you can tell from your experience that he does not have much time left to live. Mr. Newcomb has been very open about discussing his death, and you have had the opportunity to learn about his life and the legacy he will leave behind. While you are completing your rounds, you stop in Mr. Newcomb’s room to see how he is doing. You ask, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” Mr. Newcomb has rarely asked for anything, but today he has one request. Mr. Newcomb states, “Before I die, I would like to see my mistress one more time. Mrs. Newcomb is always here. Do you think you could tell her that I will be busy for a few hours tomorrow so I can make arrangements to see my mistress one more time?”
Reflect on the following questions before you begin working on this task:
• What would you do in this scenario?
• How can your knowledge of ethical principles be utilized to determine your response to Mr. Newcomb?
• How would this affect you as a nurse and direct provider of care for Mr. Newcomb?