Fighting for the Right-to-Life

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Richard at Hyscience posts a stunning example of where the slippery slope of considering hydration and nutrition as medical treatments can lead. Leslie Burke, who has a degenerative brain condition, fears food and drink could be stopped against his wishes when he can no longer speak. He has cerebellar ataxia - an umbrella term for nervous system disorders that cause a lack of co-ordination, but do not affect mental faculties.

Although Mr. Burke won a landmark ruling in 2004, supporting his right to receive artificial nutrition and hydration, doctors appealed the ruling, saying they could be put in an "impossible position."

Mr. Burke is now waiting to hear if the Appeal Court has upheld his right to life-prolonging treatment.

Incidentally, the story hit Richard close to home because, like Mr. Burke, he has Cerebellar Ataxia. Richard writes,

I'm ... glad I don't live in England, else I'd be in danger of being starved and dehydrated to death, especially since I've experienced numerous episodes of inability to speak, complete loss of coordination, and inability to care for myself.

Interestingly, I've also gone through numerous admissions to acute rehabilitation, and fortunately, at least for me, I am able to blog as I am doing now. On the other hand, I do live in Florida, so I may be in a worse boat than our friend in England. Of course I'll do my best to stay out of Pinellas County and Judge George Greer's jurisdiction, thinking in advance, I have a will to live instead of a living will.

More information: BBC News

1 Comment

Thank you for posting this article. I have just completed a discussion on another forum regarding Terri Schiavo's case.

One poster argued that Terri's case was a civil case about Terri's rights only, and had nothing to do with the right-to-life issue. Terri's hastened death could not have been ordered by the court, except for the fact that the Florida law was changed to include feeding tubes as life support.

Another Florida law I have problems with is the one that gives an adulterous spouse the legal ability to speak for a disabled spouse, when that spouse's life is at stake. The possibility of conflict of interest is too great, in my opinion.

As I stated in the other forum, it is our duty as citizens to question laws passed that endanger the humanity of any nation.




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