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Massachusetts Medical Society




A New York court this year issued one of the most disturbing and aberrant appellate opinions of the past two decades concerning the right to refuse treatment.1 In my view, the judges ruling in Grace Plaza v. Elbaum made a series of errors: they assumed that institutions can have ethics apart from those of their physicians; they believed that both institutions and physicians are primarily motivated by money; and they approved the use of legal threats by institutions and physicians against patients and their families. In this court's idiosyncratic view, dying and medical care seem to be not about patients and their families, but about power and money.


From The New England Journal of Medicine, George J. Annas, Adding Injustice to Injury - Compulsory Payment for Unwanted Treatment, Volume 327, Page 1885 Copyright ©(1992) Massachusetts Medical Society. Reprinted with permission.

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