I really believe that recent advances in medical science have raised all manner of ethical issues that simply would not have arisen in the past simply because options such as those under consideration here would not have been available. In some ways this story on Stevie Turner’s blog today, and the issues it raises, touches on the subject matter of my post yesterday reviewing Paul Kalanithi’s “When Breath Becomes Air”. If you’ve not read it, I do recommend it. As a neurosurgeon the author had to face such issues on a daily basis. As a patient he had to face them in his own life and its ending.
On my BBC News app is a photo of a baby boy who has been hooked up to a life support machine since October last year. He suffers from a rare disorder that affects the genetic building blocks that give energy to cells. Doctors have told his parents that he cannot hear, move, cry or swallow, and that he is only breathing because the machine is doing it for him. Also his brain is failing to learn to see because he cannot open his eyes for long enough.
Specialists at Great Ormond Street have told the baby’s parents that he should be moved to palliative care only, but his parents want to take him to the US to undergo a trial treatment. Judges have ruled that the baby should receive treatment until today only, but now the European Court of Human Rights is currently considering the case after the parents’ appeal…
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