Everyday Ethics takes a deeper look at the options we have when confronted with disability-related dilemmas that present more than one potential resolution. Often when a conflict is involved, our first impulse is to act solely in our best interests, because where disability is concerned, lack of awareness can lead to misunderstanding, misrepresentation of our real needs, or outright bias. But viewing these situations through a lens that weighs multiple viewpoints fairly can result in a more satisfying, lasting outcome for all involved — and that is the purpose of this column.
How Responsible is a Caregiver for the Choices of His Employer?
Q. I’m a caregiver for a C6-7 quadriplegic who has been living interdependently for about 10 years. I’ve been with her going on two years, and a week ago something happened that has caused me great concern. I’m not certain I did the right thing.
Claire had a doctor’s appointment that morning, so we started off with a shower, a routine we do regularly. While I was bathing her, she unexpectedly listed to one side, had to be supported, and suddenly seemed uncharacteristically weak. I even thought she might pass out. We were near the end of the shower, so I helped her get upright and into bed as quickly and carefully as I could. Usually she does what she can to help, but this time she lacked the strength.
Once in bed, she told me this sometimes happens when her bladder drains all at once and her blood pressure drops, but she still looked woozy and weak. I had never seen her like this before. She went on to say that she just needed