Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Doctor offers to treat dying Winnipeg man

Finally there is some reasonable progress in the Golubchuk case.

Grace Hospital has a doctor who has agreed to provide medical care for Samuel Golubchuk. The other doctors who were attempting to put pressure on the system by refusing to provide medical care for Golubchuk will not have to be involved in the case and will not be in a position to refuse to provide medical treatment to the other patients.

There are several problems with the Golubchuk case.

The first concern is the lack of effective communication between the hospital and the family. An antagonistic relationship forced the Golubchuks to seek a legal recourse to a situation that was best solved by proper negotiation and mediation.

The second concern is the lack of respect for the particular moral beliefs of the orthodox Jewish community. By pressuring everyone to fit within one decision-making model they are creating a culture that will require other families who have particular moral beliefs to seek legal remedy when the physician or the hospital is unwilling to respect their beliefs.

Not everyone will make the same decisions that the Golubchuk family have made. Nonetheless, we need to respect the diversity of our nation and uphold the right of a family to defend the wishes of their family members when it comes to maintaining life-support.

Finally, there is a lot of propaganda connected to the Golubchuk case.

Arthur Shafer has been quick to deride the decisions made in the Golubchuk case and he has been willing to exaggerate the claims of Dr. Anand Kumar, who painted a worse case scenario in order to defend his decisions that the family has litigated against him.

We need to lower the tension and introduce a mediator to allow the family and the hospital to find common ground without the current hostility that has surrounded this case.

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