Medical Decisions - ethical delimma

I have an older brother who has suddenly taken ill and is in the ICU heavily sedated. He needs someone to make medical decisions for him. Our mom passed earlier this year, that leaves me as the eldest. I have three other brothers and a sister.

The delimma? I don’t care. At all. In fact for most of my life I would have actively cheered his demise. Now I can’t summon the energy to hate him, neither can I summon the energy to give a rat’s ass.

I should defer to one of my sibs yes?

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Yes. Unless you all feel the same way.

I don’t see why this is a dilemma. You’re not supposed to be making decisions in your best interests or making the judgments that gratify you; you’re supposed to be making them in his interests, to gratify him. In some ways, the fact that you don’t have a horse in the race, so to speak, is a positive advantage; it makes it easier for your to be dispassionate about analyzing his position and making judgments about what he needs or wants.

It’s altruistic on your part, obviously, to do this for someone for whom you have no strong feelings, and you may feel that it’s burdensome and that you’re not prepared to do it in which case, yeah, that’s a dilemma.

Do you know him well enough to be able to make educated guesses about what he’d want done? Does another sib know him better? Are you, or any of you, willing to step up to the plate to try to make those decisions on his behalf?

Those items matter more than who is eldest and whether or not you give a rat’s ass.

Yes, you should defer if there are other siblings who are willing to make decisions with his best interests in mind.

I am not a lawyer and don’t know the laws in your state, but I think your status as eldest is irrelevant. If he has no living spouse or adult children or parents, then it likely falls to siblings to make decisions as a group. If any of those siblings aren’t really willing to be involved, they are not obligated to do so, but shouldn’t expect to be able to complain about the decisions that are made.

A possible situation where I would say that you do have an ethical obligation regardless of your lack of concern for him would be a situation such as where you were the only person who happened to know that he did not want life extending treatment, but other family members or his doctors were providing such treatment because they were unaware of his wishes. Then I would say that you must at least make your knowledge of his wishes known just out of common human decency. After making his wishes known, though, I wouldn’t say that you have to go to the mat to make sure his wishes are followed.

Thanks for the advice gang, I appreciate it. I wasn’t asking for legal reasons. He has adult children but he’s managed to alienate and piss off everyone, no one wants to deal with him. Time to play rock, paper scissors I guess.

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