Doctors who removed life support from a man who was in a vegetative state with very little chance of surviving the ordeal. The main question is if the two petitioners legally speaking actually killed the man when they took off his life support. By definition, murdering is “the unlawful killing of a human being, with malice aforethought. ” California Law states that Euthanasia is “neither Justifiable nor excusable in California.
Euthanasia by definition is “The act or practice of killing someone who is very sick or injured in order to prevent any more suffering” (Merriam-Webster). The question that matters is whether the Doctor’s removal of life support counts as committing an act in accordance with the definitions and laws stated above. In my opinion the two petitioners did not legally kill the victim in this case. I believe that the actual act of them removing the life support does not constitute a guilty act.
To me it is more of an omission of modern medicine. The doctors had an obligation to help the victim with his health issues, but not a legal responsibility. Once the victim was in a vegetative state they could not do anything to bring him out of the coma, only continue his living in that state and taking care of him. They discussed the issue with the patient’s wife and children and were sure to explain that the chance of recovery was extremely unlikely if at all possible.
The family gave the doctors consent to remove the victim from life support that would ultimately end his life. I also don’t see this omission of medical help as euthanasia as they did not undue his death. On the opposite side, if the doctors had given the victim a type of poison against the family wishes to keep him on life support, then I would consider that a murder. The facts of the case to me also show that the doctors and nursing staff did everything that they could to keep the victim alive and in good care.
He had a heart attack after the surgery, was revived, and then kept on life support for a few days and hygienically kept in good care by the nursing staff. Doctors take patients off of life support everyday and they are not charged with murder. They did everything hey were supposed to and did not deviate from standard medical operating procedures with the care of the patient. Barber v. Superior Court is obviously very different from People v. Beardsley, but has the same main issue surrounding both of the deaths.
In Barber there is an omission of medical help for a sick man. While the doctors had a moral obligation to help the man as much as they possible could (Which they did), they did not have a legal obligation to keep him alive past a certain point. “Although there many be a duty to provide life-sustaining machinery in the immediate aftermath of a cardiac- expiratory arrest, there is not duty to continue its use once it has become futile in the opinion of qualified medical personnel” (Peg. 45, Criminal Law). The case of are in question. The respondent had known the victim long enough for him to have a moral obligation for her well-being. While that may have been true, he had no legal obligation to take care of her while she was intoxicated. Like in Barber, there was an omission of an act that caused the death of a person. It is of my opinion that again the defendant in this case did not commit a crime, and therefore did not commit manslaughter.