Grey Thoughts
Persistent Vegative States
Prolife Blogs has a great overview of the recent recovery of Haleigh Poutre, whom the state had decided to euthanise because we have in a persistent (or permanent) vegative state (PVS).

It isn't just this case however that should give us a terminal pause when thinking about whether we should euthanise people who we don't think should recover. Prolife blogs has more statistics that
* Out of 40 patients diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, 17 (43%) were later found to be alert, aware, and often able to express a simple wish. The study is one of the largest, most sustained analyses of severely disabled people presumed to be incapable of conscious thinking, communication, or awareness of their surroundings. The author, London neurologist Dr. Keith Andrews, said, "It is disturbing to think that some patients who were aware had for several years been treated as being vegetative.

* Studies show PVS patients feel pain — indeed, a Univ. of Mich. neurologist, in one of the most complete studies, concluded that, when food and fluids are withdrawn [to impose death], the patient should be sedated.

* A study of 84 patients with a "firm diagnosis" of PVS found that 41% regained consciousness by six months, 52% by three years. These statistics certainly discredit the terms "persistent" and "permanent".
When will people stop trying to play God and deciding when a persons life is not worthy of living. When will they stop pretending they know enough to know when they will not recover?

The answer is it will not stop. This is why we need to idea that all human life is worthy of protection, not just life that some doctor or nureaucrat thinks is worthy.

Red America (Ben Domenech) also has a related case of a boy in the UK. His parents wanted him to live, but a group of doctors felt it was 'in the boys best interest' to die and so a court had to decide based on his 'quality of life' whether he should live. As Ben says
(Please note: it is the official blog advice of Red America that if your own physician ever tells you that it's in your "best interest" to hurry up and die, you ought to at least get a second opinion
What is a recurring problem is that the court didn't simply say "No, he is alive and should be treated", instead the boys parents had to argue that his 'quality of life' was sufficient to keep him alive. Because what this means is that if enough doctors or enough judges decide that someone's 'quality of life' is not worth keeping, they can simple decide to kill that person. And that is the unfortunate and inescapable end when a barbaric and cancerous idea is allowed into a 'civilized' society.
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