UK Doctors get the “final” word

This is a very troubling ruling

The General Medical Council has won its appeal against a ruling which gave a seriously-ill patient the right to stop doctors withdrawing food and drink.

Leslie Burke, 45, who has a degenerative brain condition, fears artificial nutrition could be stopped against his wishes when he cannot talk.

Mr Burke, from Lancaster, had won a landmark ruling, supporting his right to artificial nutrition and hydration.

But the GMC appealed, saying doctors could be put in an impossible position.

Following the Appeal Court verdict, the GMC said it hoped Mr Burke was now reassured he would receive the treatment he needs, including artificial nutrition and hydration and that nothing in its guidance prevented this.

I don’t see how Mr. Burke could possibly be reassured, though, given this:

But during the appeal hearing, Philip Havers, QC, representing the GMC, said the original ruling had fundamentally altered the nature of doctor/patient relationships and was not in the best interests of the patient.

He said doctors would have to provide treatment which they knew would be of no benefit or could even be harmful.

GMC president Professor Sir Graeme Catto said “Patients should be reassured by this judgement which emphasises the partnership needed to resolve end of life issues.”

“Our guidance makes it clear that patients should never be discriminated against on the grounds of disability.”

Sounds like words that really don’t mean anything, to me. The bottom line is, when Mr. Burke loses control of his body – but not his mind – a doctor can decide, “well, he can’t walk, can’t talk, what good is he, here? I wouldn’t want to live like him; let’s stop nourishment and hydration and take him off the public dole…”

C’mon now, you’re not really going to try to convince me that that won’t happen?

Junkyardblog think’s this is a bad ruling too.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    “He said doctors would have to provide treatment which they knew would be of no benefit or could even be harmful.”

    Harmful? How much more harmful can you get than DEAD from malnutrition and dehydration?

    You know, if you ask me, such doctors who think this way are “of no benefit” and are definitely “harmful” — does that mean that we are entitled to immunity from the law if we were to eliminate them?

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    These guys suffer from the same god-complex, like too many doctors today, that Bill Frist suffers from. In his book “Transplant: A Heart Surgeon’s Account of the Life-and-Death Dramas of the New Medicine” (Atlantic Monthly Press 1989), the senator-doctor wrote, “A doctor is a man whose job justifies everything,” especially since, “Life [is] a gift, not an inalienable right.”
    Now, its been a few years since I read Frist’s book, and I don’t have it on hand, but my firm and overwhelming recollection and impression from that passage and the rest of the book was–not that he meant life was a gift from God, that is, our heavenly Father–but that life is a gift from the doctors. The tone of the entire book clearly shows that Frist, at least at the time, had a god-complex and thought that he was himself a god who was justified in doing whatever he wanted in order to promote and advance his craft.

  • Pandora

    This is so typical of the medicine practiced in the UK. Its the old God complex mixed with a public health care system. I could go on for pages about it, but I’ll spare ya. If you want more information on the dilapidated state of British medical care and its abuses tho, just start at looking up what they’ve reported about maternity wards and post-natal care in the UK recently.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    “a public health care system.” Ah, good old socialism! Isn’t it great? It has done such wonders for medicine, education, the arts, housing, and social welfare, not to mention extensive and invasive regulation of every aspect of the economy! Can you imagine how terrible life would be without papa-government there to take care of us all, if we were left to live our own lives? Parish the thought.

  • http://none Darrell

    We decide. You lose!

    The motto for HillaryCare2008? Feel free to use it!

    I watched a repeat of “Law and Order” yesterday…just saw a few seconds actually…the new ADA told Jack “Did you think you would ever see the President and the Republican Congress ever sticking their noses into a case like Terri Schiavo’s?” The Left just can’t let this go…so let me answer that. Yes I did. Wouldn’t want it any other way! I expect no less! Ordering a woman put to death by starvation and dehydration? Barbaric! Not on my watch! That’s the kind of President I want, and that’s the kind of President I have… Too bad troops weren’t sent by Congress to enforce their original subpoena, and stop the removal of the feeding tube! And yes, I read the whole autopsy. Did you? Seems the press conference went far afield of the actual report. And I see no morphine was used during the process, based on the toxicology report. Someone decided that Tylenol was quite sufficient. I hope such an omniscient person is there during their final hours. One that “knows” they aren’t in pain.

  • Matthew B

    JMC, it sounds like they fought for and won the right to decide by themselves what was best for the patient. That the doctor’s wishes should over-ride the patient’s.

    A rather troubling ruling indeed.

  • Tony Miller

    What is “artificial nurtition”? Is it like “fake food” or something?

  • http://none Darrell

    It’s like food. And water. “Artificial” because an unfortunate soul can not feed themself or eat the normal way.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    “What is ‘artificial nurtition’? Is it like ‘fake food’ or something?”

    What are “satire” and “sarcasm”?