Case Study – What Should We Do? DNR for an Adult with Down Syndrome

Case Study – George – DNR for an Adult with Down Syndrome

George is a twenty-three-year-old young man with Down’s syndrome, who lived independently in a group home. Unfortunately, an accident resulted in George suffering a severe brain injury, with no signs of consciousness after a year. He’s dependent upon a feeding tube.

George and his parents live in a state that requires “clear and convincing evidence” for withholding/withdrawing nutrition and hydration, and they are feeling hard pressed to provide such evidence. They had not talked with George about dying; in the beginning, it was not relevant. Now they wish they had helped him make his advance directive. Even if they have themselves declared his guardian, they live in a state that does not permit guardians to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment.

  • The conflict in this case is between law and ethics. What is the ethical thing to do?
  • Is it ethically appropriate to remove the feeding tube?