Court Rulings on Freedom of Choice in Health Care
“It is now a well-established rule of general law, as binding upon the government as it is upon the medics, profession at large, that it is the patient not the physician, who ultimately decides if treatment – any treatment is to be given at all …; The rule has never been qualified in its application by either the nature or purpose of the treatment, or the gravity of acceding to or forgoing it.” Tune vs. Walter Reed Army medical Hospital, 602 Federal Supplement, p. 1455 (1985).
….; [No] right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law, than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person…; Justice Cardozo … aptly described this doctrine: ‘Every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body’…; US Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Dept. of Health, 1990, pp. 5, 13.
“Fundamental Rights are protected not only against heavy-handed frontal attacks, but also from being stifled by more subtle government interference …; The root premise of informed consent is that ‘[Every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body.” US Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Dept. of Health 1990, pp. 4-6.
From the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients – June