The Next Wanglie Case: The Problems of Litigating Medical Ethics
Mishkin, Douglas B.
Journal of Clinical Ethics. 1991 Winter; 2(4): 282-285.
In the aftermath of the Wanglie case, there is a widespread perception that Hennepin County Medical Center petitioned the county district court to terminate Helga Wanglie's treatment against her husband's wishes and that the judge denied that petition. In fact, the medical center made no such request, and the judge issued no such ruling....The case was tried and decided on the issue of who should speak for Mrs. Wanglie. Neither raised nor resolved was the larger question: may a hospital terminate life-sustaining treatment of a long-term PVS patient on futility grounds, despite the contrary instructions of an appropriate surrogate acting in good faith....Avoiding the real issue also deprives the parties, the court, and ultimately the public of the benefits of the rigorous clash of views between advocates for the conflicting positions. For the law to grow with changing notions of ethical medical practice, parties must engage in the challenging exercise of tracing their arguments to legal precedent, professional and scholarly analyses, and social values....
Allowing to Die; Communication; Consensus; Consent; Decision Making; Ethics; Futility; Guardians; Hospitals; Institutional Policies; Judicial Action; Law; Legal Aspects; Legal Guardians; Life; Medical Ethics; Nursing Homes; Persistent Vegetative State; Physicians; Public Participation; PVS; Social Values; Third Party Consent; Values; Withholding Treatment;
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