Life – a quality vs quantity matter

Baby Joseph has died.

Baby Joseph, born January 2010, was at the centre of a Canadian version of the Terri Schiavo story, except that this was about a baby – the second baby born to parents who has died of the same rare neurological disorder that had previously claimed the life of an older sibling.

The hospital made a decision to remove a breathing tube and the parents fought back – wanting the tube removed and a tracheotomy done. The hospital board’s decision was upheld, but the parents involve American right to life organizers and eventually, the baby was transferred to an American hospital for the trach proceedure.

I am all for personal sovereignty and choice, but there comes a time when the quality of the life has to factor into decisions and yes, the cost. The time, resources, medical rooms, surgeries, staff and treatment costs all have to factor into life extending decisions – especially when it’s medically clear that all efforts are doomed.

Taxpayers shouldn’t have to underwrite doomed treatments.

I wouldn’t actually have arrived at this conclusion except for a common theme that runs through these cases – remember the Texas Toddler who was born with multiple genetic defects and would have died within hours of birth if not for extreme medical intervention and after a million dollars and a year of no improvements, that hospital also withdrew treatment and life support.

“What they wanted was to let their baby die peacefully and naturally when God decides and not have that imposed by the hospital or the courts,” O’Donnell said.

If people were really happy to allow their loved one die as God intended, then they would have never been given medical treatments that extended the life beyond what the baby or person’s body could actually sustain.

Hospital intervention extends life beyond what Baby Joseph’s body could have sustained on it’s own.

He did not die naturally or peacefully, he died after months of medical intervention.

Yet, all the right to lifers claim they are wanting God’s will to prevail – which, without medical intervention death – natural death – would have occurred.

So they don’t want events to play out naturally, they want to keep their family member alive as long as humanly – but not humanely – possible.

Unnatural intervention, breathing tubes, feeding tubes, iron lungs, heart bypass.

It’s no wonder that medical costs are a leading cause of bankruptcy in the US if people are pursing every faint hope treatment.

Which, to me, has never made sense.

If these people really beleive in God and an afterlife, why should they so fear death?

Don’t they trust their god?