Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Death panels? We don't need no stinkin death panels

A lot of the pro lifers are going overboard about poor little Alfie, claiming he was killed. No, he had a terminal brain problem... maybe.

But some reports say that the hospital refused to give him food and water after he didn't die as planned by removing his respirator. (later reports said they allowed this after 36 hours)

 Sando Magister discusses here.

But how far does removing food and water go? See previous posts about feeding tubes.

Ah, but now the powers that be want to starve you to death by not feeding you by hand if you have brain damage.

NR on a recent NYTimes article.

the "bioethicist" quoted in the article, back in the early 1990s wrote an article supposed to be supporting voluntary assisted suicide, but began with a physician suggesting assisted suicide for a lady with dementia to her caregiver husband.

In other words it's not about the terminally ill wanting to kill themselves, it's about getting rid of useless eaters and saving money. Don't believe me? Callahan pushed limiting care according to your "quality of life" back in the late 1980s. (1988 review of his book here).

and this ethicist, along with the NEJM and the Hasting Center, and other leaders of bioethics, have been pushing this for 30 years, with little publicity or notice, even by the pro life types who were so busy fighting abortion that they hadn't noticed the line had moved to include the elderly, brain damaged, and otherwise handicapped.

What brought this to my attention 30 years ago was an article about the criteria for being a person. Lots of different criteria have been written about by lots o different "experts", but all of them have in common this little problem: if you didn't meet that criteria you were a non person with no rights, so could be refused treatment, killed, or just used for medical experiments or body organs.

When I asked the philosopher who had reviewed that book for the NEJM if that really meant handicapped people had no right to life, he answered that under the present day philosophical trends, it was hard to find an argument why anyone, even normal people, have rights.

Americans have rights because they are granted to us by our creator, but notice the powers that be who insist there is no creator, and the Supreme Court insisted that we have the right to fashion our own terms of existence, meaning that we can ignore the lessons encoded in ethical and religious traditions.

But of course, in reality this applies only to the strong and rich. For the rest of us poor slobs, it means we are vulnerable to being told what to do by a benevolent government under QALY rules.

For a century, the Catholic church opposed these bozos: against the eugenics experimenters in the US, Against the Nazis and of course against those who think abortion should not just be for hard cases but something to celebrate and joke about (yes, Ms Wolf, I am talking about you).

but in the meanwhile, the newfangled Pope has thrown out Catholic ethicist from the Vatican panels and allowed pro death folk on committees so they can shape Catholic ethics, while having new age gurus discuss medical care at a Vatican conference on medical care (i.e. think positively and you will be okay).

ah, but Pope Francis supported Alfie to be treated, right? Maybe because some in the Italian government were so horrified at the spectacle that they tried to intervene to get proper treatment for the child, so it looked bad when his self selected Vatican experts agreed with the doctors decision the kid had to die.

Again from Magister's blog:

At the Vatican and in the Catholic hierarchy, however, the voices are not unanimous. Pope Francis has spoken out in clear words in defense of Alfie’s life,...
But his protege Vincenzo Paglia, president of the pontifical academy for life - already the author last March 9 of an interview in which he completely agreed with Judge Hayden - issued on Sunday April 22, at the height of the struggle between the child’s parents and the British judicial and medical institutions, a highly ambiguous statement in which the search for consensus, whatever may be the solution adopted, is made to prevail over the truth and justice of the solution itself:...
Not to mention the holing up of the archdiocese of Liverpool, and - something even more serious - the Pilatesque statement of April 18 from the episcopal conference of England and Wales, headed by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, which simultaneously agrees with everyone and no one: "We affirm our conviction that all those who are and have been taking the agonising decisions regarding the care of Alfie Evans act with integrity and for Alfie’s good as they see it."

the problem, of course, being that the doctors and judge weren't just talking about using excessive care for the child, who could have been taken home by his father once the respirator had been removed... But it looks as is the doctors had decided that Alfie's  was better off him dead, not kept alive as a handicapped child. Timeline here.

like the notorious "Liverpool pathway", that quickly morphed from advice on how to keep people pain free while they are dying to deliberately using it to kill the senile/non dying, the problem is not what the doctors did per se, but with other issues:

And the Hippocratic philosophy of DoNotKill has morphed into 
Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
I doubt the inventor of the oath noted the irony of that last statement.

That Polish revolutionary has a long nuanced discussion of burdening the dying with extraordinary care, but but he also warned us about the modern trend to kill the hopeless...

Sarah Palin call your office: you were right about death panels.

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