Attempted rescue of pro-life poster child is deeply misguided
By PETER SINGER - NY DAILY NEWS
Added: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 15:16:07 UTC
Thanks to Ivan The Not So Bad for the link.
Little Joseph Maraachli is a new poster boy for the "pro-life" movement. But what has happened to him should instead teach us what to do - and what not to do - if we are really serious about saving human lives.
The 13-month-old from Canada, who has been having medical treatment for most of his short life, suffers from a severe neurodegenerative disease. He has difficulty breathing on his own. His head is small for his age and has not grown for three months. He has seizures. His pupils do not respond to light or follow a moving object. His movements are not purposeful.
At the hospital in London, Ontario, where he was being treated until a few days ago, eight physicians were unanimously of the opinion that he has no hope of recovery, and there is no treatment that could reverse his condition. They say he will never get out of bed or interact meaningfully with his environment.
The physicians sought a second opinion from colleagues in Toronto. The director of the critical care unit for sick children there agreed that further treatment is futile. Joseph's doctors therefore proposed removing the tube that was assisting his breathing. If he could breathe unaided, he would go home to be cared for by his parents. If not, he would be given medication to ensure that he did not suffer, and allowed to die.
Joseph's parents, who have previously had another child who died from the same disease, objected to the removal of the breathing tube. Instead they wanted an operation performed that would cut a hole in the child's neck, so that a breathing tube could be inserted in it and kept permanently in place. Joseph's doctors refused to do this. They acknowledged that the operation might prolong Joseph's life, but said it would not improve his well-being. A Canadian tribunal agreed with the doctors, giving them permission to remove the breathing tube.
Then Priests for Life, a Catholic -abortion and anti-euthanasia organization stepped in, chartering an air ambulance to fly Joseph from Canada to Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, a Catholic hospital, in St. Louis, which will perform the operation the parents requested.
"We Rescued Baby Joseph!" says a page on the Priests for Life website.
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