Sunday, September 16, 2012

Barber v. Superior Court case brief

Barber v. Superior Court
California District Court of Appeal (1983)
Facts: Two Physicians; a patient by the name of Herbert suffered a cardiac arrest and he went into a comma.
-The defendants determined that Herbert had sustained a lot of brain damage and the chances of him recovering were extremely slim.
-The defendants told this to Herbert's family and upon their request, the defendants removed the respirator and other life sustaining equipment.
-Herbert still kept breathing on his own and ultimately the defendants removed the feeding tubes.
-The defendants were charged with murder and conspiracy charges.

Were the defendants guilty of the murder and conspiracy charges under the given facts?


Legal Reasoning:
The court ruled that "the cessation of 'heroic' life support measures is not an affirmative act but rather a withdrawal or omission of further treatment."
-The court stated that since the defendants knew that their patient was not going to improve by their treatment, they had no legal duty to continue the treatment. 

  The ruling of the Superior Court was reversed.

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