End-of-Life Ethics: A Case Study Approach - Companion Book

book cover

Edited by Kenneth J. Doka, Amy S. Tucci, Charles A. Corr, and Bruce Jennings
-Foreword by Richard B. Fife.

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The cases in the book, all written and discussed by prominent  professionals, really show “ethics in action.” For professionals, the cases may help to validate the difficult choices that they guide families through every day in hospice and palliative care, or in a hospital or nursing home setting.

The cases highlight real issues, looking at issues around communication, surrogacy, decision making when children or adolescents are involved, and treatment decisions.

- Kenneth J. Doka, PhD, MDiv

Donate to HFAEnd-of-Life Ethics: A Case Study Approach is the companion book for HFA’s 2012 Living with Grief® program. Using a case study approach, pre-eminent authors from the fields of ethics and hospice and palliative care examine the realities and challenges that exist at the intersection between ethical decision making and end-of-life care. 

Ethical decisions at the end of life provide a point where all the factors that influence end-of-life care, such as finances, laws, values, culture, and technology, converge. Decisions made at the end of life affect not only the way that the person dies, but also the ways that survivors face the loss. These decisions may influence staff – affecting morale and turnover consequently directly influencing patient care as well as families struggling with grief. 

The book explores the landmark cases that have influenced the course of end-of-life decision making,  as well as the newer models of thinking that are emerging as technology and end-of-life care continue to evolve. Authors draw upon cases, ranging from infancy to older adults, that examine what one author calls “the messy realities” of these situations, for patients, families, and health care professionals.

End-of-Life Ethics is written by top experts in the field, including:

  • Terry Altilio 
  • Timothy R. Arsenault
  • Eileen R. Chichin
  • Richard P. Cohen
  • Nessa Coyle
  • William Scott Long
  • Mary Beth Morrissey
  • Jim Palmer 
  • Russell K. Portenoy 
  • Daniel P. Sulmasy

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Learn more about the End-of-Life Ethics program.

Table of Contents



Richard B. Fife

Part I: Principles of Bioethics

From Rights to Relationships: The Ecological Turn in Ethics Near the End of Life
Bruce Jennings

Sticking with the Sick: Access to Palliative Care and Hospice as an Issue of Justice
Nancy Berlinger

Part II: Ethical Dilemmas in Palliative and Hospice Care

Limits to Confidentiality: Ethical Issues in End-of-Life Care
Erin Talati and Lainie Friedman Ross

Ethical Issues in Communication at the End of Life: A View from the Trenches
Richard P. Cohen

Surrogate Decision Making: The Surrogate’s Value
Mary Beth Morrissey

Artificial Nutrition and Hydration  
Nessa Coyle and Vidette Todaro-Franceschi

Pain Management: When Barriers Exist
Terry Altilio and Russell K. Portenoy

Palliative Sedation and the Rule of Double Effect
Daniel P. Sulmasy and Nessa Coyle

Physician-Assisted Suicide, Aid in Dying, and Hospice
Charles A. Corr

Part III: Family and Staff: Ethical Concerns

What Next?  A Case Study of Transfer from Hospice to Nursing Home
William Scott Long

Ethical Conflicts: Hospice and Nursing Home Care
Eileen R. Chichin and Jim Palmer

Unjust Demands for Futile Treatment:  When Treatment Should Cease
Mary Beth Morrissey

When Family is the Issue
Kelly Komatz and Alissa Hurwitz Swota

Ethical Dilemmas When the Patient is an Infant: Uncertainty and Futility
Brian S. Carter

Whose Suffering is It?  An Ethical Reflection on the Decline and Death of a Child
Timothy R. Arsenault

Informed Decision Making and the Adolescent Patient
Kristin Meade and Sarah Friebert

Does Dementia Change the Equation? Advance Directives and Dementia
Charles A. Corr, Karen M. Corr, and Susan M. Ramsey

Ethics, End-of-Life Decisions, and Grief
Kenneth J. Doka


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