Doctor Fate wrote:1. Doctors are not always right. In fact, that's the whole point of second opinions. In fact, medical error is one of the leading causes of death. In this case, "ignoring the advice"--does that equal "ignoring the only medically-acceptable course of action?"
I know that. This is why it is appropriate that the doctors did not get the final say, and that evidence from the doctor who promotes the experimental treatment was heard. In the UK medical error in the NHS is linked to c.40k deaths a year. However, usually this is where there is a life-threatening condition to begin with, and so it is hard to say how many of those would have lived if treatment had been carried out correctly. Also, mistakes and errors are not the same as opinion.
And there wasn't one "only medically-acceptable course of action here". The issue was not medical, but quality of life. Whatever happened, this poor little kid is going to be brain damaged and need constant intervention for the rest of his short life.
2. In the US, there would be a court-appointed representative for the child IF it could be determined that the parents were not acting in the best interests of the child. No court should determine that without a full and fair hearing.
That is kind of what happened here - the case was about what is best for the child. But to have the child only represented by his parents could be a conflict of interest in such a process.
[quote="freeman2Analytically, the court should have proceeded in two steps: (1) Should the hospital or the parents decide what was to be done with regard to medical treatment, and then (2) if the decision was taken out of the parent's hands what was the best thing to be done for the child. Here, the judge just decided to go to step two without starting with step one. And now you are retrospectively seeking to show that step one was done. But that's not what the judge did--all he did was assess what was in the best interests of the child. But even if you find his analysis reasonable, you first need to hold that the parents should be stripped of their right to make the decision regarding medical care. You could find his decision reasonable and find he should have deferred to the parents. In fact, I would so find.[/quote]I get what you are saying, but it seems prescriptive and could result in perverse situations. If what the parents want is against the child's interests, then should they get to decide? And how can you determine that without an evaluation of some kind of what the options are and where their preference compares?
eg: If you had parents who wanted to stop all treatment on religious grounds, and they were completely cogent and otherwise caring for the child, but the medical options were for treatment that had a good chance of saving their life or improving their quality of life, what would step (1) do without a view on the preference they hold?