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Haleigh Poutre update...

The fox guards the henhouse, again and again. For those not familiar, this agency, DSS, after enormous blundering in the beginning, failed in an attempt to snuff little Haleigh and ever since has held onto her in jealous ownership like an obsessed lover. Fortunately for the people of Massachusetts, these antics grew too egregious to tolerate when brought to light, and DSS is reined it a bit these days.

Once again, I am grateful to Buffy Spencer of The Republican for keeping the light on this story.

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SPRINGFIELD - The state agency that has custody of 14-year-old Haleigh Poutre, the Westfield girl whose case led to a major overhaul of the agency's oversight of child abuse and neglect proceedings, is seeking to keep any of her appearances in court closed to the media.

The request from the Department of Children and Families, formerly called the Department of Social Services, comes in the case of her stepfather, Jason D. Strickland, who was accused with his late wife, Holli A. Strickland, of inflicting the injuries three years ago that left Haleigh with a severe brain injury and the subject of a right-to-die case which drew national attention.

The motion was received by Hampden Superior Court on Friday. 

Assistant District Attorney Laurel H. Brandt, the prosecutor in the criminal case against Strickland, said in a court hearing that Haleigh is her principal witness.

Strickland, 32, has pleaded innocent, and is due to face trial on Oct. 30.

The Republican will challenge the state's request, according to Executive Editor Wayne E. Phaneuf.

"This case is of national significance and has already led to changes in the law to protect children who were victimized by the failure of the state agencies to act promptly and properly on their behalf," he said. "At every step of the way, those state agencies have tried to suppress the public knowledge of this case because of their embarrassment. We intend to challenge the request to keep Haleigh Poutre's testimony secret and quash her chance to tell her story."....................

Agency seeks to bar media

8mm

1,478 posted on 09/24/2008 3:49:12 AM PDT by 8mmMauser (Jezu ufam tobie...Jesus I trust in Thee)
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To: All
This in, with positive and negative, from Nova Scotia...

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The already difficult debate over whether to sustain the life of a person with almost no consciousness as the result of a brain injury has grown harder over time, says an American bioethicist visiting Halifax this week.

New scientific work has shown that some people who appear to be in a vegetative state, with no prospect of recovery, are in fact minimally conscious, Dr. Joseph Fins, a neurologist and chief of the division of medical ethics at New York’s Weill Cornell Medical College, said Tuesday in an interview.

And recent experimental therapies, including deep-brain stimulation and certain drugs, have helped patients in isolated cases regain some consciousness, he said.

"We are on the cusp of greater and greater discovery," Dr. Fins said. "In a way, when there was absolutely no hope and no possibility of hope 10 years ago, it was almost easier to sort of deal with it. I think we’re now in a more ambiguous situation where there are glimmers of possibility. If you’re unfortunate enough to have a loved one in this situation and you’re hoping against all odds that there might be something to do, it’s hard to be patient."

Dr. Fins will give a free public talk Thursday evening called Lessons From the Injured Brain: Bioethics Meets Neuroscience.

Last year in the journal Nature, Dr. Fins described the case of a 38-year old who’d been in a minimally conscious state for five years and regained the ability to eat, speak and make some movements after electrodes were implanted in his brain. But he stressed that experimental techniques like deep-brain stimulation are unproven and cannot be considered treatments.

"There’s no treatment for this," he said.

The way families of people with minimal consciousness navigate the debate over prolonging life or allowing a loved one to die and their appeals to governments to support research will help accelerate investigations into new treatments, Dr. Fins said.

He said more government funding is needed to broaden the experimental approaches to treatment.

As it stands, people left with minimal consciousness are largely "neglected" by policy-makers, Dr. Fins said.

He and colleagues last year estimated that there are between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans living in a minimally conscious state and about 25,000 who are considered vegetative. But there are no reliable numbers.

"If you really care about this population of patients, you have to count them so that you can engage in responsible health policy planning," Dr. Fins said.

Periodically, cases like that of Terri Schiavo a severely brain-damaged Florida woman at the centre of a family struggle in 2005, garner a great deal of public attention.

Ms. Schiavo died in 2005 after her husband won the right to remove the feeding tube that sustained her for 15 years in a vegetative state. Her parents opposed the move.

Dr. Fins said it’s productive to have that public debate on a large scale.

He noted that the high-profile case of Karen Ann Quinlan in the late 1970s helped establish the now well-entrenched right of a person to die when there is no hope his or her condition will improve........................

Where hope still glimmers... Bioethicist to speak about sustaining lives of severely brain injured

8mm

1,479 posted on 09/24/2008 3:56:06 AM PDT by 8mmMauser (Jezu ufam tobie...Jesus I trust in Thee)
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