Monday, May 21, 2007

Medical, or Moral, Futility

Emilio Gonzales has died. The infant's battle against a terminal illness was mirrored by his parents' effort to keep the medical community from snuffing him earlier. From the CNN account:

Doctors wanted to invoke a state law allowing the hospital to stop life support after a 10-day notice for patients deemed medically futile.

Some may argue that the parents' fight against the exercise of this law was morally futile, but I think not. Any citizen should be allowed to carry on medical care, for either themselves or a loved one, to the farthest extent possible. The fight brought to the fore that issue of whether an individual, or an institution, is endowed with the right to determine medical treatment.

Why would the hospital cut off medical care, but to save money. When they talk about alleviating suffering, are the doctors talking about the patient, or are they referring to stockholders?

The Texas Senate, moved by the fight against the involuntary termination of medical care, charged into action:

The state Senate approved legislation this month to change the law and give patients' families more time before ending life-sustaining treatment.

Is that any victory?

1 comment:

Tiber Jumper said...

It's all about the bucks. The hospital I admit patients to from my nursing home has a "futility of care" committee euphemistically called "The Oasis Team." They provide "guidance" regarding end of life care. Their agenda is not deeply masked.
reminds me of soylent green!