Spring 2005

House of Delegates Passes Section-sponsored Resolution at 2005 Midyear Meeting

The ABA House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved a Section-sponsored policy on patients’ rights at the 2005 ABA Midyear Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. The resolution is intended to prevent government interference that would undermine longstanding principles of informed consent, and aims to insure patients receive complete, accurate, unbiased and timely information about their treatment options. The resolution opposes any government actions or policies that would interfere with patients’ abilities to receive from health care providers all relevant and necessary information they need to make fully informed health care decisions as well as information with respect to access to medically appropriate care and where patients can get that care. The resolution does not require health care providers to offer or endorse any particular medical service, or to offer information about alternative or experimental treatments that do not meet the medical standard of care.

Co-sponsors of the resolution included the Health Law Section, the Special Committee on Bioethics and the Law, the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, and the Young Lawyers Division. Section Vice Chair Robert E. Stein, Secretary Robyn S. Shapiro of the Bioethics and the Law Advisory Committee, and Health Rights and Bioethics Committee Leaders Lourdes A. Rivera and Susan B. Fogel were among the resolution’s principal drafters. Health Law Section Chair J.A. (Tony) Patterson, Chair-elect Gregory L. Pemberton, and Secretary Andrew J. Demetriou also worked closely with the Section in support of the resolution.

Other resolutions co-sponsored by the Section and approved by the House relate to veterans’ benefits; ending atrocities in Darfur, Sudan; the Sentencing Reform Act; and reducing risks of convicting innocent persons. The Section also co-sponsored ABA President Robert Gray’s presidential initiative, The ABA Principles Relating to Juries and Jury Trials. For more information on these policies and other Section activity at the Midyear Meeting, visit http://www.abanet.org/irr/midyear2005/summary.html.