Eighty-four year-old Samuel Golubchuck has suffered a brain injury, can’t walk, speak or eat on his own, needs a ventilator to breathe and is retaining 10 times the water of a normal intensive-care patient and his skin is swollen to the point of bursting.
Doctors at the Winnipeg hospital say that, barring divine intervention, it’s only a matter of time before he dies, and after four weeks in intensive care with no improvement, they want to remove the breathing apparatus keeping him alive.
His son and daughter say that constitutes assault equivalent to murder and is a violation of their Orthodox Jewish religious beliefs.
On the other hand, the physicians concluded the patient was not benefiting from treatment, they followed all the medical and ethical guidelines and came to a conclusion to end treatment based on their judgment and expertise.
The lawyer representing the hospital argued in court that patients do not have the right to demand treatment, nor do they have the right to demand the continuation of treatment.
Now the court has granted a temporary injunction to keep Mr. Golubchuck on life support. The judge requires more time to make his decision.
What should that decision be?
Does the immediate family have the right to continue life support for their father?
Or do the doctors and the hospital have the right to hasten his death?