The prisoner had the option of continuing to live on his own until he was released, or he could have surgery to remove the tube. The prisoner's attorney asked for an extended hospital stay that would enable the inmate to make an informed decision on his own. Although a few states allow prisoners to continue on their own life support even after they are no longer considered terminally ill, there is no similar right for an informed patient seeking a last chance at life.
A doctor cannot make the wrong decision for the wrong patient. In other words, if the doctor knew that he had to amputate a patient's leg, he would make the right decision in most cases, but in the case of a patient who had not made an advance health-care directive, and was at risk of dying, he might be required to amputate her leg, and so would be liable for the state-mandated fee for hospitalization and related expenses. In the Wickline case, the plaintiff, Elizabeth Jane Wickline, sued over her doctor's refusal to honor the advance health-care directive she'd made months earlier, and the state appealed the judgment. This interpretation can have devastating consequences. Consider, arpamyl example, a patient who's not in a hospital but instead has an appointment at her home with the same surgeon who performed her operation. But what if the doctor had performed the treatment himself, rather than in collaboration with a partner or colleague? In Wickline v State of California, the California Supreme Court held that the doctor-patient decision is subject to the state court.
Fourteenth Amendment to equal protection of the laws. The right of privacy is not'a blanket protection under the Constitution against all governmental intrusion into the private conduct of individuals. It is, rather, one of a multitude of rights, none of which is absolute, and one of which depends, at least in part, on the state of the individual. In other ways, the Wickline decision could be taken as a harbinger for the growing trend of expanding the right of privacy in health care, as the Supreme Court has already recognized, and as courts around the country have taken to recognize. As long as the medical evidence is not clear as to whether a patient can recover, the medical malpractice claims process is a minefield.
Wickline's case was decided in a fashion that is similar to that of the current case: It was decided by a three-judge panel in which two of the three judges were appointed by Democratic President Jimmy Carter, while the other two were appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan. The ruling is a strong condemnation of the use of retrospective review and the need to limit its scope. A'medical decision' is'final,' as such a term is normally understood, at least in the context of a hospital's billing or utilization system. The term'final' is not synonymous with'final. The decision to make a medical decision, including whether to have the treatment, cannot be considered to be final unless the decision is'final' and'final treatment' is the result of a'complete' course.