Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Life Support

I am still trying to process the mind-boggling idiocy of people regarding the tragic case of Alfie Evans. Most of his brain was gone and his skull was full of water and cerebrospinal fluid. He was already dead when the doctors turned off his ventilator.

Now I am going to say this absolutely clearly. Anyone who does not understand this is provably an idiot. This outcome has no relationship whatever, none, to socialized medicine or any other characteristic of how medicine in the United Kingdom is organized and paid for. It was a judicial decision in which cost, or who was paying, or who was in charge of health care and health care policy, played no part whatever. The judge decided that continued treatment was not in the best interest of the child. That is all.

Now think about this. If you believe that the bodies of people without functioning cerebral cortices should be connected to machines that push air into their lungs and nutrients into their blood streams, and keep their hearts beating, forever or at least as long as the heart can be kept going, then this is what you are demanding:

That the nation steadily build vast warehouses filled with mechanically ventilated corpses.

Somebody has to pay for that. I propose that the Pope pay. He can sell off his solid gold candlesticks.


Gay Boy Bob said...

The issue is not so much whether this was a good or bad decision for this one child.

The larger issue is about who has control over your children's healthcare decisions,the State or the Parents?

Who's driving that bus?

If you live in the UK, clearly it's the State.

Cervantes said...

The state -- or more specifically the courts -- intervene in parental health care decisions all the time, in the United States. Routinely. It happens every day. Parental rights are limited when they are clearly harming their children.

Gay Boy Bob said...

US courts *do* intervene when children are being harmed.

However, seeking additional medical treatment from qualified Italian doctors at the parents' own expense would not be one of those situations, nor would disallowing the parents and the child the dignity to die at home after additional care was denied.

This is a tough one to defend. The optics are awful because the state's actions are awful and everybody knows it.

That's why it's news.