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November 22, 2006

Dylan Walborn--RIP

Topics: Euthanasia

I don't know how I missed it, but about a year ago, in November of 2005, a four-year-old little boy with cerebral palsy named Dylan Walborn became another casualty to the practice of terminal dehydration. Here is the Denver Post article about him, trying to make it all sound oh-so-nice. Veteran readers of Blogs for Terri will not be surprised to learn that Dylan's 24-day slow death (he received very small amounts of water, but no food) was fully authorized by a hospital ethics committee. Sadder is the fact that his parents sought his death. Here is a good analysis of the reasons given to justify killing him by dehydration. I learned about Dylan in the latest issue of Human Life Review, an excellent publication. (The issue that talks about Dylan is not yet available on-line.) The Denver Post article makes it clear that hospital ethics committees consider withholding food and water until death to be just another form of "taking a child off life support."

It may surprise those of us who followed Terri's case, but there are still people, well-intentioned people, pro-life people, intelligent people, who have no idea what is going on in the United States (and the UK) with terminal dehydration. Dylan's open, legal, medically authorized killing should be yet another wakeup call, if Terri's murder were not enough. Yes, feeding tubes are withdrawn with intent to kill slowly by dehydration when the person is not otherwise dying. No, feeding tubes are not merely withheld when the patient cannot absorb food or when the patient is going to die within a couple of days anyway from his underlying condition. We have to keep saying these things to those who don't know them, so that we can protect the vulnerable.

And Dylan Walborn? Well, he is not the first such child, and I fear he will not be the last. Rest in peace, Dylan. And may those of us who now have heard of you fight to protect others like you.

Posted by lydia at November 22, 2006 3:47 PM

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