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photo Ethics Thru Drama
Claire's Story
Ethical Issues at the End of Life
Created by Helen Emmott, RN, and Julie Russell, RN
A Take Ten, Inc., production by Linda Haskins

Part of the three-part Ethics Thru Drama series which is available on a single DVD! Claire is a nurse but, she says, "I've learned some things since I was the patient." Despite her training, she delayed seeing a doctor when she experienced the first symptoms of ovarian cancer. When the physician gave her the diagnosis, she understood the words, "but I couldn't hear anything he was saying." Later, in intense pain, she was refused stronger medication, told "We have to reserve that option for later." "Don't you understand I'm dying," she says. "My daughter is scared and angry, I'm using her college fund for treatment I believe to be futile, and I feel so completely alone." Shocked by the impersonality of her medical care she tells a student nurse, one of the few people to treat her kindly, "Don't ever forget the importance of just being with someone, especially someone who's dying."

Claire's Story is one in a series of brief, one-character dramas created by bioethics educators Helen Emmott and Julie Russell, who are both experienced registered nurses. Performed by Russell, these evocative portraits offer nurses, physicians, social workers and other members of the healthcare team invaluable case material for use in thinking about these issues.

Every day in the life of a terminally-ill patient presents a host of complex issues for patients, families, and members of the healthcare team. As medical science and technology continue to evolve, discussions of the ethical aspects of end-of-life care become both more critical and more difficult. Learning to facilitate and participate in these processes is essential for all healthcare providers. The cases portrayed in these poignant monologues will stimulate hours of ethical discussion. Produced with support from ELNEC, the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium. Discussion Guide included.

17 minutes
© 2004
Purchase $129 VHS / Purchase $129 DVD
Order No. QA-427

"We teach and learn what it means to be healthcare professionals through cases, the sharing of clinical narratives or stories. The most powerful way of teaching and learning illness narratives is through drama, through actual performances of patients' stories." William G. Bartholome, pediatrician and bioethicist

"The tapes and acting are magnificent, and the student response was wonderful!" Dr. Lynda Shand, School of Nursing, College of New Rochelle

"Unforgettable! Russell's performance is inspiring, touching, and thought-provoking. The characterizations hit audience members right between the eyes." Beth Ingram, Vice President, Arkansas Hospital Association

Related Films
Sheila's Story: Homeless, poor, and HIV positive, Sheila lacks the social supports, including insurance, that might help her face terminal illness with some kind of dignity. Yet she struggles to "celebrate who I am: a loudmouth and a caretaker." One in a series of brief, one-character dramas created by two nurse-educators.

Tricia's Story: A breast cancer patient confronts difficult moral and spiritual issues as she comes to grips with the fact that her illness is terminal. One in a series of brief, one-character dramas created by two nurse-educators.

Caring at the End of Life — with related study films: This three-part series deals with end-of-life care and decision making in the hospital, through profiles of several severely ill patients and the staff who deal with them.

Pioneers of Hospice: Explores the development of hospice and palliative care, focusing on the legacy of the founders of the modern hospice movement: Dame Cicely Saunders, Florence Wald, the late Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, and Balfour Mount.

More than a Failing Heart: Family members describe examples of the best of end-of-life care, and of the worst, and reveal how competent and compassionate physicians and nurses can change the end-of-life experience.

To Live Until I Die: Most Americans die in the hospital, often alone and in pain. These six terminally ill individuals are facing what lies ahead with anger, humor, insight, and honesty — determined to have a "good death."


Related Films

Study Guide

Web Resources

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