Samuel Golubchuk was, as per this piece in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, “at the threshold of multiple organ failure in a Winnipeg intensive care unit.”
The piece describes how “fundamentalist religious beliefs” are propping up his life at the expense of giving the bed to a more needy patient.
An obligation to provide extraordinary care to dying patients, including patients who are minimally responsive, forces one to breach the everyday duty of care, which is to provide the best balance between probable harms and foreseeable benefits. That is why an approach that excludes the option to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining care is unworkable.
I’m not a doctor, but I never thought of food and water as “extraordinary measures.”
Tanya adds: I’m not sure I follow their point about “exploiting the dubious distinction between acts and omissions.”
If withholding food and water (in this case by removing a feeding tube) is simply an omission for which no one can be held liable, why is it called neglect when it is done to a child? It is inevitable that anyone who cannot feed himself will die if no one else feeds him. Seems like a pretty deliberate act to me. But I’m no doctor either.