Skip to comments.Pulling the Plug
Posted on 12/02/2007 3:16:18 PM PST by shrinkermd
This is the title of an article in the current issue of Forbes. It is written by John J. Parris: Jesuit Priest and Professor of Bioethics at Boston College.
The article starts with a problem. In 1999 a patient was admitted with Lou Gehrig's disease. The patient indicated she should be kept alive until she could no longer enjoy her family. She eventually became unresponsive. Her daughter refused the hospital's wish to terminate life support. A lengthy (10 month) court battle ensued. The daughter opposed but eventually was faced with the hospital taking the position (Court approved) that the daughter had a certain period of time to find a different hospital.
The patient died before she was transferred. The total cost of treatment in the hospital was 4 million dollars.
Using this case as spring board the author urges states to write laws permitting hospitals to withdraw life support. Texas has such laws.
Only if that is the patients wish.
If, on the other hand, the Mother DID HAVE a living will stating her wishes clearly, this was frivolous litigation and shouldn’t have been heard in any court in the country!
Not knowing all the facts, it’s difficult to decide who pays. One thing for sure, if we start letting our old folks die just because they don’t have the money, then everything we believe in will go down the tube. It’s a tough question.
The real horror in the story is the daughter trying to cling to her mother’s life. In great part, this was her parents fault for not instilling in her respect for how they valued their lives and what they were willing to endure to sustain them.
It is a conversation parents must repeatedly try to have with their children. And even then, there are no guarantees.
I remember the story of a bad son. His parent’s farm and estate were placed in a trust, with him as executor. They had made it very clear that when they had died, he was to equitably provide for all of his siblings, and to guide and direct the management of the farm.
As soon as they died, he put the farm up for sale, and offered his siblings nothing of their parent’s estate. As executor, the law was clear, and he could do that. There was nothing his siblings could do, he held complete sway over everything.
Again, it was the fault of his parents. Though it was clear what they wanted him to do, they had not asked, or had not heard his desire to quit farming and move away. They had never discovered that he despised farming and did not care for, or even like his siblings, nor felt he owed them anything.
So it was the fault of his parents. And much in the same way of the daughter who wanted to cling to her mother’s life, at some point there was the assumption that they would be in charge. And as such, they should never have been put in charge if they were not to be trusted with such responsibility.