Death with Dignity is different than suicide

Ban on Circumcision Bans

News Story Edit:

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Sunday a bill that prevents local governments from banning the practice of male circumcision.

The legislation comes in response to an effort this summer by a San Francisco Bay Area advocacy group opposed to the practice.

The legislation prohibits local governments from “restricting the practice of male circumcision” and “declares that the laws affecting male circumcision must have uniform application throughout the state.”

Random Commentary:

Once again, in California, the state steps in to prevent the prevention of harm to people, while allowing local laws that protect animals to stand.

Just as Californians in the same ballot took marriage away from gays and lesbians while voting for more legal protection for chickens and how they are caged and managed; does California now strike down the ability of cities and counties to ban the surgical alteration of infant male penises but allows cities to pass bylaws to prevent veterinarians from de-clawing cats, such as is the case in Hollywood.

Now usually, I’m happy when animals get considered on par treatment with humans, but there’s something wrong with not giving humans the same consideration as we give to animals.

Yes, we need to humanely manage livestock – yes, we need to ensure the best health care and maintainance of animals we choose to have as pets/companions in our homes.

But we also have to remember that the same compassion that we extend to factory farm animals and house pets, is also needed for people.

When a parent endangers their child, there are state mechanism to intervene – parents who forgo medical treatment for faith healing do get criminally charged when their children die of preventable and treatable illnesses. When parents neglect, abuse, starve or otherwise torture their child, the state intervenes.

So when parents opt to surgically alter their child, when there is no medical need, based solely on personal preference and religious traditions – the state has an interest to intervene.

That city and regions are able to legislate for their community is a setting of community standards – and perhaps that’s what’s needed for the state to set the standard, when enough communities have said, it is no more acceptable to declaw cats than it is to de-foreskin male infants.

Of course, any comparison of how animals and humans – as if humans aren’t also animals – are treated medically brings us to the entree issue: euthanasia – death with dignity, a chosen death at the juncture of when there is no or too little quality of life to ensure the pain, humiliations, intolerable conditions of a slow decent towards oblivion.

Just as we pet owners must decide when our pet’s ability to be comforted by petting, consuming food and water and ability to toilet itself is no longer possible or sufficient against the effort of achieving these, so too must people be allowed to determine at what point continued and declining existence is no longer worth the effort of going through the motions of life.

And, a medical profession that is sworn to do no harm, is not at all in conflict with death with dignity.

Because dying peacefully through medical assistance – something that is done in every American state with the death penalty – is something that the state could sanction and doctor’s administer and this would reduce harm to the dying person by ending the long and painful, drawn out deaths. Save wear and tear on the families who watch helpless as their loved one dies bit by bit.

Doing no harm needs to be understood on a larger scale than simply attempting to treat and then maintain and then manage the patient – but to actually prevent the injury to their last days, to their family – to provide a cleaner and more dignified death, at a time of their choosing – what could be less harmful than to make death itself less painful for everyone connected to the passing?

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?