Non-beneficial Medicine in Ontario & Idaho - Red Light, Green Light
Posted Mar 13 2012 5:33pm
I was explaining the impact of thependingIdaho "Discrimination in Denial of Life-Preserving Treatment Act" when it occurred to me how similar such a law would be to the Ontario HCCA. In a nutshell, healthcare providers in Idaho are just as risk averse as providers elsewhere in the United States. Consequently, without clear authorization and immunity to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment, they probably would not refuse it to a surrogate who demanded it. In other words, given extreme legal risk averseness, the absence of a green light has the same practical effect as a red light. If the new Idaho bill were enacted, it would add a genuine red light. But this is superfluous given the already-existing "perceived" red light.
In Ontario, the courts have construed the HCCA to operate as a red light in the sense that, without consent, offered life-sustaining treatment cannot be stopped. (Of course, the HCCA offers a small window for converting a red light into a green light through the CCB.) The absence of the HCCA consent requirement would not be tantamount to a green light (to refuse treatment). It would instead mean only the absence of a red light. Still remaining in Ontario would be what there is now in Idaho: legal fear to refuse wanted life-sustaining treatment.