Showing posts with label euthanasia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label euthanasia. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, March 01, 2010

Why am I not surprised?

Choice is a dead-end proposition in America.

Whenever we talk about being "pro-choice," we're never referring to a mother thumbing her nose at the doomsayers predicting all manner of horrible outcomes -- both for her life and the baby's -- if she doesn't make a bold choice for death.

Whenever we talk about being "pro-choice," we don't mean women having the right to choose life -- an abundant life -- for their unborn children. As we conceive it, "choice" never leads anywhere but straight to Nihilism Street.


We "choose" in favor of ourselves, our fears, our desperation, our convenience.

WE "CHOOSE" against a being we've already chosen to regard as less than human, despite the biology of the matter. That is, unless the fetus is "wanted."

We're never envisioning a society that mobilizes its time, talent and treasure -- and I'm talking public as well as private treasure -- behind the idea of "no child left behind" . . . and no parent, either.

As it turns out, living life like Alice through the looking glass takes a toll on a society. It takes a toll on how we see things. Sooner or later, the funhouse-mirror view of things becomes normative, and reality seems monstrous.

AND SOONER OR LATER, we begin to regard our dying children (the ones we "chose" to let out of the womb alive) much as we do our dying pets. We're eager to "put the poor thing out of its misery."

Its misery.

There's been a study made, and The Associated Press wrote about it:
It's a situation too agonizing to contemplate — a child dying and in pain. Now a small but provocative study suggests that doctors may be giving fatal morphine doses to a few children dying of cancer, to end their suffering at their parents' request.

A handful of parents told researchers that they had asked doctors to hasten their children's deaths — and that doctors complied, using high doses of the powerful painkiller.

The lead author of the study and several other physicians said they doubt doctors are engaged in active mercy killing. Instead, they speculate the parents interviewed for the study mistakenly believed that doctors had followed their wishes.

A more likely scenario is that doctors increased morphine doses to ease pain, and that the children's subsequent deaths were only coincidental, said lead author Dr. Joanne Wolfe, a palliative pain specialist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital in Boston.

The American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and most other mainstream doctor groups oppose mercy-killing but say withholding life-prolonging treatment for dying patients can be ethical.

Dr. Douglas Diekema, a medical ethicist at Seattle Children's Hospital, said the study results are not surprising.

"I have no doubt that in a small number of cases, some physicians might cooperate with a parent's desire to see a child's suffering ended. This might include giving a drug for sedation or pain control that also suppresses the drive to breathe.

"Most physicians don't intentionally push that drug to the point of stopping a child's breathing, but some may be comfortable not intervening if a child stops breathing in the course of treating him or her for discomfort," Diekema said.

The study was published Monday in the March edition of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. It was based on interviews with parents of 141 children who had died of cancer and were treated at three hospitals, in Boston and Minnesota.

Among parents studied, one in eight, or 13 percent, said they had considered asking about ending their child's life, and 9 percent said they had that discussion with caregivers. Parents of five children said they had explicitly requested euthanasia for their dying children, and parents of three said it had been carried out, with morphine.

"If there was absolutely no other option, and the patient is suffering, then why wouldn't you" hasten death? said David Reilly, a Boston-area man whose 5-year-old son died of cancer 11 years ago.
THERE ARE REASONS -- more than 5,000 years' worth, in fact -- why children of Abraham ought look at one another differently than we do Spot, no matter how beloved Spot might be.

I suggest we begin to reacquaint ourselves on what those reasons are.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!


I've got to stop reading the blogs.

And the news sites and the newspaper.

While I'm at it, I also need to blow up my TV.

"WHY?" YOU ASK? It's because I can't stand being reminded -- reminded every day that God in Heaven sends -- just how much of a bunch of f***ing Nazis we have become.

Find some neighbors on the wrong side of the political divide? Demonize them.

Discover that most people are suckers for one thing or another? Cheat 'em.

Somebody standing between you and your heart's desire? Roll over 'em. Repeat if necessary.

Enjoying the sex but wigged out by the baby in your tummy? Abort it.

Enjoying the sex but wigged out by the baby in your girlfriend's tummy? See above.

Disturbed by the prospect of human suffering? Ask Phil.

Phil left a comment on a Crunchy Con post about euthanizing suffering animals, and how that can get to a body. He wants to know why we shouldn't extend the concept to a higher order of animal.

As in Homo sapiens.

In the world of Phil -- which, sadly, is increasingly the way of the world around us -- we're all a sick chick, a suffering cat or Spot on his last legs:

If putting an animal out of its misery when it's suffering is okay, then why not humans who want to be put out of their misery? Euthanasia should be for more than just animals. There are worst things than death. Living in pain or living without dignity are worst than death.
I'LL SAY HERE what I told Phil in the Crunchy Con comments. To wit:

Why not euthanize people? Because we are not mere animals.

Human suffering has meaning, however much it might escape us as we're in its midst or as we watch others suffer.

If it didn't have any meaning -- if it didn't in a real way unite us with a suffering Christ, or if the Ten Commandments alternatively told us "Thou shalt not kill, except. . . ." -- well, a compassionate arbiter of the greater good would put a pillow over every newborn's face and smother him on humanitarian grounds the second the kid emerged from the womb.

I don't know, maybe you've led a charmed existence and haven't truly known suffering. Or maybe you've been suffering horribly for a very long time now, but you hold on to hope for reasons known only to yourself.

But this I do know: When we say it's permissible to put people "out of their misery," what we are saying is twofold -- there is no hope, and there is no meaning in people's misery.

No sanctification, no contemplation, no fostering of compassion, no inspiration, no nothing. Nada. Nil.

NIHILISM, I think is the word.

We humans are an odd lot. We're the only species that consciously and "rationally" concludes that the solution to almost every damned thing is death.

Me, I'm like Rod's father . . . "I can't stand killin' anymore."

Funny, Phil, how you can speak so much more blithely about killing suffering humans than I can bring myself to talk about putting down suffering animals.

I've always owned dogs. In our going on 26 years of marriage, my wife and I have had four. Two, we've had to put down when they were old, terminally ill and suffering.

Both times, I gave the vet consent. Both times, I held them and comforted them as they died. You don't get used to it, and it gets harder -- not easier -- each time.

I can't even write about it without my eyes filling with tears.

Yes, I know they were animals, not humans. Yes, I know it was the "right" thing to do, that letting them suffer truly would have been pointless. I know all this intellectually . . . rationally.

But in my heart, I know that they trusted me, depended on me and were more loving and loyal than most humans. And you can't help but feel you let them down, and it haunts you.

That's how I feel about my dogs.

I'm sorry, Phil, that you can feel so much more sanguine about "putting down" human beings, individuals each created in the image of their Creator.