November 15, 2008

Jones vs. Schiavo -- Britain vs. US -- Sanity vs. Hysteria

The story of a 13 year old British girl who is refusing a heart transplant because she'd already been through enough pain reminds me that when you're looking for the right answer, humility may be as essential as wisdom.

Hannah Jones's leukemia was diagnosed when she was four; she later developed heart disease, and has endured chemotherapy and nearly a dozen operations. This past summer, when doctors told her that without a heart transplant she'd be dead in six months, she refused to go through with it.
She was not asserting a right to die; she was suggesting that she had a right to live on her own terms. . . .
Hannah's parents decided that they needed to respect their daughter's wishes.
her father Andrew told reporters. "My wife and I agreed that whatever Hannah wanted, we would support her."
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But one doctor, concerned that she might be driven by fear or confusion, notified children's protective services of the case - which is how the Joneses found themselves fighting to retain custody of their child.
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Later still, The social worker was convinced, and this week the lawyers were as well; the court lifted the order and Hannah may continue to refuse the treatment.
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Compare this story to the circus surrounding Terri Schiavo in Florida a few years ago.
Tell me again---who is "Right to Life" and who is humane?
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5 comments:

an average patriot said...

Hi two crows!
I thought it was inhumane what they did to Schiavo! Right to live? You should have the right to die!
I just had this discussian with a sister in regard to my Mother. The medical industry takes a little piece of you at a time knowing you are going to die anyway but you keep their industry going!

two crows said...

hi, Jim--
I understand exactly what you mean.

My family lucked out. We had discussed the issues with my mother when my father was dying. She told us that she didn't want to be kept alive artificially.

So, last year, my sister and I signed a DNR and enrolled my mother in a hospice program even though she was no longer able to give her consent.

And, last April, she was able to die with dignity with hospice workers keeping her comfortable, reading to her, etc.
No histrionics, no second guessing, and with everyone in agreement as to what needed to happen and why.

Meanwhile, I've long since had all the discussions with my siblings and signed all the necessary paperwork.
xxx
when family members disagree, the system breaks down completely.
the secret is to communicate while you can.

that makes it much harder for a theocratic government to step in and turn a family's decision into a circus.

an average patriot said...

It really is a tough subject!i don't even know what I think myself but I do not want something that is going to kill ma anyway to be an excuse to kill me slowly to keep the medical industry alive!

Anajo/Anijo/JoAnn said...

The complexity surrounding chemotherapy is that it extends one's life, but depending upon one's individual situation (type/stage of cancer), that extension might be beneficial or it might be a nightmare. In the end (no pun intended) the final decision should be a personal matter.

two crows said...

hi, Jim---
it's sometimes hard to plan in advance without seeming ghoulish.
but, given that the alternative is so much worse, it really does help to plan ahead.
xxx
hi, anajo--
I sometimes wonder-- does it really extend life or just make it SEEM longer?

I've made my decision, long since: give me sufficient drugs to keep me comfortable and let me go home.

of course, I'm not 13. I've had a long, full life -- so it's not the same thing as this little girl. and, even so, I may change my mind when actually faced with the decision.

one thing is certain, though: I want the decision to be MINE -- not the government's.