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Illinois Federation

For Right to Life

Daily News

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Doctors Refuse to Work at Hospital Unless they are Allowed to Deny Treatment to Patient


Two doctors - ICU director Bojan Paunovic and specialist David Easton - of Winnipeg's Grace Hospital's critical-care unit have refused shifts at the hospital rather than to allow 84-year-old Samuel Golubchuk to continue to receive nutrition and hydration.


Golubchuck is being kept on life support by court order pending a trail set for this fall. When the hospital tried to halt his food, hydration and ventilator, Golubchuck's family filed an injunction against the hospital, saying that starving him to death would violate their Orthodox Jewish faith.


This follows the resignation earlier this month of Dr. Anand Kumar, the doctor who originally wanted to remove Golubchuck from food and hydration last fall.


Dr. Kumar said he withdrew his services because it is "in violation of my medical ethics to continue (treating Golubchuk)." He also said he believes that the "services administered in accordance with the court order are not of any medical benefit," and in fact cause harm to Golubchuk because they are uncomfortable and painful.


"If we honestly attempt to follow the Court mandate to focus on keeping Mr. Golubchuk from his natural death, we will likely have to continue to surgically hack away at his infected flesh at the bedside in order to keep the infection at bay. This is grotesque. To inflict this kind of assault on him without reasonable hope of benefit is an abomination. I can't do it," said Kumar in his letter of resignation.


Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition commented on this situation.


"It appears that the doctors are intentionally pressuring the system into a crisis in order for them to get their way and stop providing treatment for Samuel Golubchuk," Mr. Schadenberg said.


He further explained: "The legal system clearly gives the institution the advantage. Grace hospital has hired, at taxpayers' expense, the best legal team in Manitoba to represent their position while the Golubchuk family is left to their own limited resources to protect the values of their father. Clearly the system leans heavily towards supporting the hospital's agenda."


"It is also too bad that the physicians and Grace Hospital in Winnipeg continue to refuse to respect the orthodox Jewish faith perspective of the Golubchuk family. The circumstances of this case are not common and require a special sensitivity to solve," Mr. Schadenberg concluded.


Golubchuk's family is continuing to fight for the 84-year-old man's life, arguing that he is not in a vegetative state and that he is only receiving the most basic care of artificial nutrition and hydration. 


Contact: Thaddeus M. Baklinski


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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection for the disabled and the elderly.   Click here to learn more about the IFRL.