This story was first published in June 2018 for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Listen at the Pomegranate Health website, iTunes or any Android podcasting app.

As medicine becomes more sophisticated, discussions about clinical ethics become more common. It is now possible to support life in dire clinical circumstances, but physicians are not always sure if this is the right thing to do. There are questions about quality of life and best interests of the patient, questions about cognitive competence to make such decisions for oneself or questions about equitable distribution of limited resources.

This episode was recorded at the RACP Congress in May and centres around two provocative case studies. The first describes a three-year-old boy with a severe neurodegenerative disorder whose parents are desperate to try an expensive experimental drug. The second is about a man ravaged by bowel cancer who has spent months on life-sustaining care.

You’ll hear how clinical ethics support can work through such agonising cases.

Written and produced by Mic Cavazzini. Music courtesy of Daddy Scrabble (‘Tune for Elli’), Jason Shaw (‘Namaste’), Kai Engel (‘Highway to the Stars’). Image purchased from Shutterstock. Executive producer Anne Fredrickson.