Bartling v. Superior
By: Carol McLilly
Many people support the right of a terminally ill patient to die - but what if the right becomes an obligation? Some people may argue that it’s the doctor right to protect the patient and in some ways I might agree, only if the patient was not if the patient is in a state of mind and understands the potential outcome of his decision. Public discussion of the treatment of dying patients often confuses two separate issues. First, is the right of the terminally ill person to be allowed to die without being subjected to invasive medical procedures? Second, is the question of whether a dying person should also have the right to hasten his or her own death, and require the help of doctors and nurses to do so. It is often overlooked that patients have the common law right to refuse any medical treatment. A doctor who treats a patient against his or her express wishes can be charged with assault. the case of Bartling v. Superior was a case about the right to die.
The recent legal decision in the Bartling case affirmed that competent patients may refuse life-sustaining treatment, even if they are not terminal or comatose and even if physicians object because of ethics or conscience. However, clinicians may be concerned that patient refusal of treatment is not truly informed. Physicians have an obligation to benefit patients as well as to respect patients' wishes. They may fulfill both obligations by determining whether further medical treatment is indicated, identifying reversible conditions that may impair patient decision making, and checking that the patient's decision is informed. The Trail Court rejected Bartling action. Es sah lediglich im Fall von komatösen und todkranken Patienten das Recht zur Entfernung von lebenserhaltenden Geräten gegeben. It appeared only in the case of comatose and terminally ill patients given the right to remove life support...