Aging & Gerontology


Alzheimer's Caregiving

Body Image

Brain Disorders


Chronic Illness

Cross-Cultural Care

Death & Dying



Family Issues

Gender & Sexuality


Global Health

Grief & Recovery


Maternal & Child Health

Mental Health & Psychology



Pain Management

Sexual Abuse/Violence

Substance Abuse

Suicide/Self Injury

Women's Health

Contact Fanlight

Join Email List

Requests for
Digital Rights

Follow Us! On...

photo To Choose No Harm
Ethical Decision-Making at the End of Life
By Fred Simon

The situations that healthcare workers confront when caring for dying patients can present the most ethically challenging problems they will ever face. Yet these complex, intertwined, and frequently "messy" realities of day-to-day decision-making are often overshadowed in media debates over "assisted-suicide."

This powerful documentary allows us to be present at meetings in which two different healthcare teams must resolve conflicts between the wishes of their patients and the patients' families, and their own beliefs and clinical judgments. The situation of a young man with AIDS raises compelling issues about futility of care, as well as conflicts between patient autonomy and responsibility to others. In the case of an elderly woman with terminal cancer, the staff confront disagreements between the patient and her husband over her wish to decline CPR and return home. The situation is further complicated when her insurance company refuses to pay for additional hospitalization.

Each case is discussed by a panel of caregivers, administrators, and ethicists. This is an invaluable resource for discussions of nursing, medicine, ethics and healthcare policy.

45 minutes
© 1996
Purchase $199 DVD
Order No. QA-184

"Interesting, informative and, most importantly, thought-provoking." Best Science Videos, Science Books & Films

"Raises complex ethical issues and offers a means to decision-making which is most helpful." Gloria Ramsey, NYU School of Nursing

Awards & Conference Screenings
National Center for Death Education
Association for Death Education & Counseling

Related Films
Code Gray: Academy Award nominee for Best Short Documentary. Explores four open-ended cases in which nurses confront serious ethical dilemmas in their day-to-day work.

A Fate Worse than Death?: Families and caregivers confront the heartrending decision of whether to withdraw artificial life supports from loved ones in a coma or vegetative state.

Caring at the End of Life: Based on six case studies of seriously ill hospitalized patients, this moving film focuses on the key roles of nursing staff in improving patient-clinician communication in end-of-life care.

Stanley: This disturbing case study raises complex issues about medical prognosis and religious belief in end-of-life decision-making. Part of the Caring at the End of Life series.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website