Human Exceptionalism

Samuel Golubchuck Has Died

The patient in the Winnipeg futile care lawsuit has died while on life support. From the story:

In the end, it wasn’t a judge who decided Sam Golubchuk’s fate–time ran out for the 84-year-old and his family who challenged the province’s medical community over who gets to determine when someone dies.

Golubchuk died at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in his bed at Grace General Hospital, still connected to a life support system. “He simply died,” family lawyer Neil Kravetsky said late Tuesday night.

The legal action launched by Golubchuk’s children to prevent doctors from removing their father from life support system had fixated the community and drawn interest across the country. Golubchuk’s children had won a temporary injunction to prevent doctors from removing him from life support and the issue was to be decided in court in September.

Kravetsky said that while Golubchuk’s right wasn’t sealed by a court ruling, he believed the Second World War veteran won his case just the same. “No one took him off life support–God did and that’s what they were fighting for,” Kravetsky

That’s how I see it, too (the “win,” not the “God” part: I don’t get into religious issues here.) At least the family has the comfort of knowing that he wasn’t allowed to be pushed out of the lifeboat. I have heard from those who believe that their loved ones were–and the burning pain they experience is excruciating.

I would not have made the decision the Golubchucks did. But I think they had the right to make it and the doctors acted imperiously in trying to force him off life support via coercion and resignations.