Wednesday, February 23, 2005

When is it time to end a life?

...and who makes that decision? If somebody is chronically ill and deteriorating, not able to care for themself or even speak or communicate, who knows what the right course of action is?

The family?

The hospital?

It would seem that the family would be more likely to let emotional attachments interfere with seemingly logical actions, while a hospital may let economics interfere with compasionate actions.

As sicker and sicker people are kept alive, where does society draw the line and who is the final arbiter of that line?

My friend Gary in Boston is representing a family going through such a crisis.

Personally, when my stepfather was dying, I found most of the so-called healthcare workers at the hospital where he died to be careless and uncaring, it would not surprise me at all that a hospital would opt for the course which would cost them less money and free up a bed. That said, if a family member of mine lay in a coma, unable to communicate, deteriorating with no hope of survival, I would be inclined to let them go as peacefully as possible.

Any thoughts?

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