Winnipeg hospitals draft end-of-life guideline
The Winnipeg health region has drafted end-of-life guidelines for hospitals following a court battle over life support for an 85-year-old man.
The report, released Friday, stated Health Minister Theresa Oswald rejected a call for a review panel with authority to adjudicate such disputes.
Instead, she accepted recommendations for better education and communication to try to head off disagreements over care.
The review was prompted by a battle between the family of Sam Golubchuk and doctors at Winnipeg's Grace Hospital.
Golubchuk, had been on life support with minimal brain function in 2008 and doctors wanted to take him off life support, but Golubchuk's relatives argued that would violate his beliefs as an Orthodox Jew.
Golubchuk died that same year before the fight could be resolved in the courts.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, in an effort to avoid conflict between patients families and doctors in end-of-life care, is launching a public education program that will see doctors and nurses encouraging patients who come to hospital, even for short term problems, to fill out a health-care directive specifying the level of care they would want.
The health authority will also increase access to mediation and ethics support for families so that disputes over care can be settled before they end up in court.
WRHA senior vice president Brock Wright said better communication between patients, families and health care providers should help address similar situations.
"There is no guarantee that we're going to resolve all disputes. What we experienced with Mr. Golubchuk's situation we could experience again," he said.
"What we're trying to do with all of this, though, is just lessen the likelihood that that happens."
With files from The Canadian Press