This statement is easier to understand compared to some of the previous Section 3 questions.

Life always has a natural end. If one or more of a patient’s systems fail to function effectively and are in critical condition, then there is a high chance that they are getting closer to death. The statement is just trying to say that it is better if doctors, medical staff, the patient’s friends and family realise this fact.

Firstly, it is the duty of the doctor to inform a patient fully about how critical their condition is as it is vital for the patient to know how ill they actually are. Patients must be informed about what complications or suffering they may face during and after the treatment. This will allow them to make an informed decision.

A patient’s desires, quality of life, treatment burdens and cost of treatment must be taken into consideration to ensure which is the best course of treatment.

Some may argue that if there are no benefits to the patient or if the suffering and burdens outweigh the benefits, then doctors may decide to prevent the patient from enduring pain unnecessarily. Not being aware of this will only cause pain to the patient.

There are many ethical issues related with such situations. “Make the care of your patient your primary concern” is contradictory. The treatment may have a low chance of being successful but there is still hope. If, however, the patient is suffering throughout this treatment, then this would not be caring for them, keeping in mind that the treatment has a high chance of being unsuccessful. This causes the medical staff and the family to be in a state of dilemma and confusion.

In such cases, some people may say that if the patient is capable of making an informed and calculated decision regarding their life, then that decision should be respected by everyone because ultimately, it is their life.