Wednesday, December 1, 2010

When Is It Ok To Pull The Plug?

Case in point ... a 27 yr. old local boy from Antioch, paralyzed from a car accident at the age of 3, who is only able to move his head, states, "He has no friends, no education, no educational prospects, no love prospects; all I want is to no longer live like this." Although he graduated high school and earned an Associate's degree from the College of Lake County. Later he gave up dreams of becoming a prosecutor because of the physical difficulties of attending a college away from home.

He has battled Froedtert Hospital to remove his ventilator. Hospital psychiatrist and mental health care professionals say he's depressed and must be treated before they will consider his request.

Depression is common with spinal cord injuries. This person is non-dying, but profoundly handicapped. He has been recognized by professionals as profoundly depressed. The question at hand, just like the Cruzan case, is this ... should a non-dying, profoundly handicapped person remove themselves from life support? The difference in this case, as opposed to the Cruzan case, is that the 27 yr. old is depressed but competent. In Cruzan's case, as she was unable to make her own decisions, her husband made the decision for her.

Both cases had and will have a profound influence on end of life decisions ... both morally and legislatively. This is the way euthanasia is being sold. It's an emotional appeal designed to bypass your rational thought and moral underpinnings. If this case proceeds and this young man non-dying but profoundly handicapped, kills himself because he finds life too difficult ...

This young man's restrictions to realize his dreams are obviously greater than the average. Yet, there are many of us who have had to alter our dreams when they became unattainable for whatever reason. If this young man can discount himself because he considers certain options of life to be beyond his reach, when will the next person who did not get to become an astrophysicist or an academy award winning actress, decide their life is too hard and they should end it? When does life stop having worth, no matter the options?

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