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case study, family coping, futility



  1. Ledbetter-Stone, Monica MSW, ACSW


As multidisciplinary medical team members, we are sometimes confronted by cases that frustrate us because they do not proceed well, and our desired outcome goal of healing and restoration cannot be achieved. A case like this may stay in our memories due to our regrets regarding the inability to intervene in a manner that is effective. The following case is an example of this. This case is one that challenges health care professionals to revisit our thinking regarding intervention strategies for families confronted with terminal illness. The case also allows us to examine how systemic issues within a health care organization can sometimes impede the goal of achieving the most optimal outcome for the patient and family.