Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Parents' Conscience vs. Clinician Conscience

Philadelphia prosecutors have charged Herbert and Catherine Schaible with 3rd degree murder after their son Brandon died when the parents turned to faith healing instead of medicine for highly treatable problems.  This is typical in these cases, because the parents exceed the scope of their discretion to determine best interests.  

Interestingly, it seems that in some states a clinician could act on her conscience based objection.  That refusal might similarly lead to the child's death.  But unlike the parents, the clinician would be statutorily immune from criminal and other sanctions.

3 comments:

lcick here said...

This is so shocking!!

Brad F said...

presumably, a new caregiver can be found in a timely manner i n the d=event of a physician objection.

Parents however, can distance themselves from the same system until damage to the child cant be reversed.

A difference, dont you think?

Brad

Thaddeus Mason Pope, J.D., Ph.D. said...

Yes. The typical conscience-based objection is to legal and generally accepted healthcare services. So, there will usually be many other clinicians who would provide that service.

But there could be no transfer due to geography or the failure of the initial clinician to disclose the option. If the parents do not know (a) of the effective and generally accepted treatment or (b) that the current clinician is not administering it; then they will not even seek an alternative provider.