A man with moderate dementia who is living in a nursing home is diagnosed with laryngeal cancer. The man is still able to talk and interact with other people. But he doesn’t know what year it is and is unable to make decisions on his own.
Explore this issue:November 2011
The real kicker: He has no surviving family and no designated surrogate.
What does his medical team do? Should they perform a laryngectomy, when one of the man’s greatest pleasures seems to be talking to people? Should they treat him with intensive chemoradiotherapy, despite side effects that probably include increasing his dementia? Or do they give him palliative care only?