April 5, 2005
Medical Killing and Common SenseTopics: Commentary
Excerpted from Pamela Hennessy
While many commentators began to eagerly sink their claws into the debate of how Terri's case will impact an arrogant and bumbling judiciary, I had hoped more would address how it would affect our disabled and elderly. While the country divided itself over which party was acting appropriately (the parents who wanted to save her and the husband who wanted her dead), I was hoping more Americans would thoughtfully consider whether they believed it ethical for a deliberate killing to take place in a healthcare setting. Instead of the all-too-familiar call for individuals to run out and get a living will, I had hoped the notion of protecting oneself from starvation and dehydration would have gained a mention.
Instead, the usual peanut gallery of "experts" have been paraded in front of every news camera in America, arguing fitfully over self-composed definitions of persistent vegetative state, quality of life and spousal rights. Regrettably, not one has yet addressed the surely coming dangers that the Terri Schiavo case has laid the groundwork for.
Medical killing. Think about the term in the abstract alone. Is this what we truly desire for ourselves? Is this the legacy we intend to leave our children and grandchildren? Medical killing. To a sensible person, the words don't really belong together. Yet, they are now joined rather efficiently as a matter of our society's history.
Do not fail to appreciate the reality of Terri Schiavo's death in the technical sense. A healthy, but brain-injured, woman was deliberately deprived of a basic, human need with the sole purpose of making her dead. And, it worked.
In the months to come, I have no doubt that people all over the world will be mourning the loss of young Terri. I'll be doing the same, but I'll also be grieving for the loss of our sensibilities.
Posted by tim at April 5, 2005 12:34 PM
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