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Author Topic: Doctor's duty is to mother, not future child, court rules  (Read 1776 times)

Offline CareDC

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Doctor's duty is to mother, not future child, court rules
« on: October 15, 2008, 11:10:25 AM »
A physician owes a duty of care to a female patient and not to a child she may conceive in the future, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday as it dismissed a lawsuit against an Ontario doctor filed on behalf of a child born with disabilities.

Recognizing a duty of care by a doctor to a future child of a patient would affect the doctor's existing legal obligation, which is to the patient, a three-judge panel ruled in a unanimous decision.

"Imposing a duty of care on a doctor to a patient's future child in addition to the existing duty to the female patient creates a conflict of duties that could prompt doctors to offer treatment to some female patients in a way that might deprive them of their autonomy and freedom of informed choice in their medical care," Justice Kathryn Feldman wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel.

Under Canada's legal and medical systems, women have the right to abort a fetus and imposing a duty of care to a future child would interfere with the exercise of that right, the panel said in its decision.


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