The Case of Grace: Why Are They Doing All This?

Case Study – Grace – Why Are They Doing All This

Grace H. has spent all her life teaching high school English in Pine Junction. She retired ten years ago when she began to suspect that she was suffering the early stages of dementia. Shortly after she retired, Grace, who has never married, sold her home and moved into Happy Valley Nursing Home where she has lived the past nine years and has now slipped into what the doctor agrees is Alzheimer’s disease.

Grace started exhibiting signs of illness, which after blood tests, appears to be related to abnormal function of her spleen. She has an advance directive in place, which stipulated that she wanted nothing extraordinary to be done in the event that she was dying.

But is Grace dying? Should the spleen abnormality be treated? Is that contrary to her stated wishes?