Posted by Charity on April 11th, 2007

Did you read the story about the case in Texas where the hospital wants to discontinue treatment for a 17-month-old terminally ill child against the unanimous wishes of the family?

I am not going to retell it, but you can read it here.

There are so many angles to this story, I almost don’t know where to start.

In the WaPo story, it says,

Texas’s six-year-old “futile-care” law is one of two in the country that allow a hospital’s ethics committee to declare the care of a terminally ill patient to be of no benefit and to discontinue care within a certain time frame.

At the risk of sounding stupid, how can treatment that is keeping a person alive be seen as having “no benefit”? Isn’t living in and of itself a benefit?

I find it disturbing that the decision to end life support has been taken away from the family. It is now up to a medical ethics team to determine the value of an individual’s life.

How will this play out when our health care system is government-run? When there isn’t enough money to fund universal healthcare, which history (and the present) shows us will be the case, will euthanasia against the wishes of the family become standard practice for all lives that the ethicists consider unworthy?

This is really not a question of whether or not this child’s life should be sustained. Sure, that can be discussed and debated. I cannot say what I would do in this situation and, God willing, I will never have to find out.

The issue here is who gets to make the decision about when to end the life of a child. And what the consequences of the answer to that question will be.

One Response to “Who Decides?”

  1. I’m not going to bite on this one, but it is important to think about what living means. If we’re talking Schaivo type stuff, where over half the brain has degenerated, I don’t see how that is living.

    And as an aside, if we weren’t wasting money on wars of choice and corporate welfare,there is more than enough money for universal healthcare. It’s about priorities.