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06 November 2006 @ 04:01 pm
Discussion time.  
A British medical college is advocating allowing euthanasia for "severely disabled" infants.

Current Mood: intrigued
Current Music: Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
The Archangel Robriel: Mechanistic Eyearchanglrobriel on November 6th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC)
I suppose it depends upon what your definition of "severely disabled" is, when it all comes down to it.

I have a friend who has a child who was born without part of his brain and as a result, he's severely autistic, severely retarded and has cerebral palsy. Oh yeah, and has seizures. You look in this kid's eyes and there is just nobody there, yet his body lives on.
Maybe the kid has a great quality of life, inside that shell, but I rather doubt it. He gets bedsores and bites through his lower lip when he has seizures. His limbs are contorted and spasm if he's left too long in one position. He has a breathing tube so he gets infections a lot.
His medical care has bankrupted his parents and destroyed their marriage. His Mom has -no- life and because she has no help with this kid (because medical insurance won't cover it) so she gets on average 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, which is starting to destroy her health. Her other children are trying their hardest to raise themselves and the Mom has told me how she despairs because she's letting the children who -do- have promise go unparented so she can tend to the abyss that is her son. There are days when she says she prays he'll just die, so she can have a life again, and then she has hideous guilt. Then she prays that she'll die, and then she has hideous guilt because who'll take care of him if she goes?
My friend terrified of what will happen to him once she and his father die. She doesn't want any of her other kids to feel like they have to throw themselves in front of the bus to take care of their brother the way she has, but she's seen what happens to the people like him in most nursing facilities.
His Mom would be the first one to admit that this child's life has been nothing but a trial for her - a nightmare that never ends. She's told me she wishes she'd have had an abortion, that she -dreams- about having had one. This kid has done nothing in his life but produce ruin and despair. He has given his parents no "golden shining" moments where it's all worth it, if only for that second.
Because I love my friend, I've found myself thinking "I wish he'd just die. This is endless torment for all of them" but unlike her, I don't have hideous guilt. I honestly wish he would, so that this family could grieve and then go on and salvage something of their own lives from all this.

To me, as long as the definition for who would fall into the category of "severely disabled" is extremely narrow and the final say is left to the parents, I have exactly zero problem with it. They're advocating "allowing" euthanasia, so that means the parents wishes on the issue would be taken into consideration. It's not like the state is whistling in and declaring some children a loss and dropping them while their parents scream. This is something every ethical VET will do for malformed and suffering puppies or kittens who have no chance of having a good quality of life. I just don't get why this is such a huge deal for human doctors to do.

I say the people who -do- have problems with it should have to sign up to raise these babies themselves. Knock yourselves out, guys. Maybe when your lives have been reduced to a total smoldering wreckage you won't have as much time to mind other people's business for them.