When Doctors and Nurses Disagree About a Patient, Who Decides?

Doctors and nurses bring different values, different training, and different snapshots of patients to the process of care, so it's no wonder they can disagree. Often the disagreements are not about technical issues but about basic human values where there is no clear right and wrong.

Theresa Brown, R.N., has an excellent column in the New York Times about how she agonized when a terminal cancer patient cried out in protest against the painful chemotherapy treatments he was getting. The doctor pushed the patient to carry on the treatment, and so the patient agreed, only to die shortly later with extra pain from bleeding in his bladder that the aggressive treatment had caused.

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