Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Re: The Schiavo ordeal
If there were no specific, written instructions indicating that a patient preferred to die rather than be left in a vegetative state, I think the doctors and courts should presume she would desire to live (and thus feed her, keep her on machine, etc.). I don't see that as a necessarily conservative perspective, but as a humanist and ethical one. A ruling that said the state could terminate the life in absence of those written instructions could certainly lead to some scary scenarios: doctors "pulling the plug" on anyone who was in a coma who had not signed some release or consent or whatever: a bad precedent.
Moreover, there are no logical reasons why a cure or new surgical technique could not be discovered; her recovery might be highly unlikely, but it's not impossible. And how does the hospital know that her husband and/or relatives are reporting the truth about her wishes? And yes we should be very alarmed that the appelate court did seem to decide against the patient's rights here.
There should be a federal law that presumes that, unless there is clear and reliable written evidence to the contrary, the patient desires to live and thus should be fed, kept on machines, etc.
Posted by J at 1:58 PM
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