Thursday, November 16, 2006

How this man is ethicist...

is beyond me. ...

OK, I've read Arthur Kaplan for a few years now and he always, always ALWAYS manages to "get my dander up." Always. And his writing on the brouhaha in England is another piece of work:

American law was intended to protect the rights of the disabled. For many years children born with Down syndrome or spina bifida were not given aggressive treatment if their parents did not want it or if doctors deemed it inappropriate. But in the early 1980s, the Reagan administration and the famous Surgeon General C. Everett Koop protested these practices, resulting in the passing of a law that stopped discrimination of the disabled in the neonatal nursery.

But the federal law went too far. In its effort to ensure that children were not allowed to die simply because they had a disability, Congress wrote a law that was overly restrictive.

A 22-week-old premature baby is not in the same medical circumstances as a child born with Down syndrome who simply requires a surgical repair of his digestive tract to survive.

Extremely premature infants are the nightmare of every neonatal hospital and obstetrician. Medicine does not know how to save them and when it tries, if often produces a child whose life is very short and whose suffering is beyond description.

Oh, my goodness. Suffering beyond description. Life is very short. So let's just kill them! Yes, that's the answer!

We are so afraid of suffering, as a people. it really makes me kind of sick. Everyone suffers. Everyone has pain. There is no way to escape it. So let's just kill them before they can experience it? Eh??? Where do you draw the line? Who are we to decide these things?

There is a limit to what medicine can do. Tiny preemies should not be forced to endure care that does not work and that only prolongs dying, and most major religious traditions understand that. Existing American law is too restrictive — we wind up giving treatment when common sense and basic respect for human dignity say we ought not.

The new British report has the courage to take on this problem. It may go too far in the other direction of prohibiting care. The right answer lies somewhere in between

"Giving treatment when common sense and basic respect for human dignity say we ought not?" Look, I'm not going to listen to this guy lecture me about human dignity. His track record doesn't give him that much credit. This is the same guy that didn't want to give Terri Schiavo food and water. So y'know.

So the Brits have "courage," huh? Yup, courage to encourage infanticide. What in the world are we talking about? Can anyone else not read this and go, "we're crazy. Absolutely nutty." Because I sure can't.

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