The Case of Samuel Golubchuk: The Dangers of Judicial Deference and Medical
Self-Regulation

American Journal of Bioethics, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 59-61, 2010

Posted: 27 Feb 2012  

Thaddeus Mason Pope

Mitchell Hamline School of Law; Queensland University of Technology - Australian Health Law Research Center; Saint Georges University; Alden March Bioethics Institute

Date Written: January 1, 2010

Abstract

Jotkowitz and colleagues (AM. J. BIOETHICS, 2010) claim that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba Guidelines 'represent a retreat from autonomy towards old fashioned paternalism.' This is descriptively false. Autonomy has developed solely as a negative right to be free from unwanted treatment. It has almost never been formally construed to give patients a positive right to demand nonindicated treatment. These guidelines are a clarification of the scope of autonomy, rather than any retreat from some positive rights that were previously recognized. Autonomy has long been and remains a very weighty principle – but it does not automatically trump other principles.

Still, Jotkowitz and colleagues are correct that the Golubchuk case is special because of the religious nature of the request for life-sustaining medical treatment. While even Jotkowitz and colleagues concede that such requests can be (and should be) overridden in some circumstances, they rightly argue that such unilateral action must be carefully circumscribed. Provider arguments for overriding must be more compelling in futility disputes where the treatment request is religiously motivated.

Keywords: Golubchuk, autonomy, futility disputes, religion, Betancourt, Trinitas Hospital, surrogate, death, dying

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Pope, Thaddeus Mason, The Case of Samuel Golubchuk: The Dangers of Judicial Deference and Medical Self-Regulation (January 1, 2010). American Journal of Bioethics, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 59-61, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2003520

Thaddeus Mason Pope (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Avenue
Room 320
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States
651-695-7661 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.thaddeuspope.com

Queensland University of Technology - Australian Health Law Research Center ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Australia

Saint Georges University ( email )

West Indies
Grenada

HOME PAGE: http://www.thaddeuspope.com

Alden March Bioethics Institute ( email )

47 New Scotland Ave
MC 153
Albany, NY 12208
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.thaddeuspope.com

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
569