Thursday, July 06, 2017

Quality of life: Whose decision

I haven't been following the story of an infant who the doctors and the imperial courts have decided should die, but GetReligion (a blog that examines the journalistic handling of religious issues) has a summary of the dangerous legal precdent behind the story: they quote from the nytimes story:

Judges in the case have acknowledged that the case highlights differences in law and medicine – and an American willingness to try anything, however unlikely the possibility of success – but have held that prolonging the infant’s life would be inhumane and unreasonable.
it's not the money (the parents have raised the money for treatment).

it's not the ethics or religious reason (under Catholic ethics, removing extraordinary treatment is optional, nor is it necessary to use treatment that only will prolong dying, but it also means the patient or his family have the ethical option to do everything possible for the child).

This is not about ethics: It's about who decides your life is useless so you are better off dead. It's about the docs deciding the kid's quality of life is not good enough for them, so they are removing treatment to end the life.

So the courts sided with the doctors and (unlike other "futile care" cases in the US) have denied the parents the right to find an alternative place to care for the child, either in another hospital or even letting them take him home to be cared for so he can die in a loving environment...

But is the case "hopeless"? For in this case, they are denying permission to take the child to the USA where there is a possible treatment that will help their child.

Arturito has a similar mitochondrial depletion syndrome to Charlie and was the first person in the United States to receive the experimental and pioneering nucleoside therapy. It’s the same therapy Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, are fighting for their son to receive. Yesterday, a High Court judge agreed with doctors at Great Ormond St Hospital that Charlie should not have the treatment and should be allowed to “die with dignity
Ah yes: Dignity at all costs, never mind the alternatives are available.

This reminds one of the Terri Schiavo case, where the parents were not allowed to take her home and care for her there, because in both cases the decision is that the person's quality of life is bad, so they are better off dead.

From GR:

Thus, government officials and doctors are defending tiny Charlie's right to choose death over suffering through further medical treatments? Did I read that right? That appears to be the bottom line, in mainstream news reports about the case.
Now, if journalists are open to digging deeper into the religious elements of this case, I would recommend them reading a First Things essay by conservative Wesley J. Smith, author of "Culture of Death: The Age of 'Do Harm' Medicine."

wikipedia page 

Augusto Odone, call your office.

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