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Read Debra's case, then answer the questions that follow.

Case Study

Debra Lansing is a 67-year-old housewife living in Ann Harbor, Michigan. She was always active in raising her five children. They are now all adults and her husband of 40 years has recently retired and she is looking forward to spending their golden years traveling to places they could only talk about when their children were younger. Just eight weeks ago, she began to notice some shortness of breath during her usual morning walk, and she has been losing weight without trying.

Debra went to see her family physician. Her physician ran a series of tests and then sent her to a specialist. The specialist ordered a CT scan. After a small lesion was discovered the specialist did a tissue biopsy. This biopsy was sent to a pathologist whose report that arrived yesterday revealed the diagnosis of Stage III inoperable lung cancer.

Debra does not like the outlook of radiation or chemotherapy. She has researched all of the complications and side effects associated with each treatment. The fact that her husband has just retired has left them with a fixed income and she fears the cost of medication and treatment alone will leave her husband in terrible financial burden.

She does not want to go through the pain that her diagnosis offers, nor does she want her husband or children to have to bear the pain of her suffering.

Today Debra met with Dr. Snow who has a machine he will let her borrow. This machine will "will assist her in making all the pain and suffering disappear."

You are Debra's best friend and confidante. She has always been a proud, private person who does not confide in many people. She has stopped by your house to ask what you think of the idea of using the machine.

Questions

1. What do you think about the timing of Debra's thoughts of suicide? She only learned of the diagnosis yesterday.

2. What do you think may be going through her mind?

3. How do you think her family physician would respond to her plan?

4. What is euthanasia? How is it different from assisted suicide? Which of these is Debra requesting?

5. As her best friend, what advice would you give her?

Five Stages

Conduct some research on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages of death and dying. List and define each stage. Be sure to include your thoughts as they relate to medical assisting (meaning how would you help someone that may be experiencing one of the stages?).

Some questions to answer when writing your 1-page paper include the following:

Does everyone go through all five stages?

Are these stages only experienced by the person who is terminally ill?

Can they only be applied to death and dying?

Be sure to cite any outside research sources that you used in this assignment.

Be sure to cite any outside research sources that you used in this assignment.

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