When do you pull the plug?

#1
Fight to life case won

I know this isn't the normal type of news thread introduced. However

There have been a number of cases similar to this in the last wee while and the majority seem to have gone (eventually in some cases) as keeping what are vegetative cases alive, why it what seems to me, because we can.

If this body was brought into A&E, what would be be likelihood of survival? Slim to nil, I would think.

I respect the right to life case and have huge sympathy for the parents of this child but I have real difficulty in believing the correctness of this verdict. Considering the overspend/overstretch that the NHS is in, would there not be a case here and for similar situations for allowing medical judgement to prevail?

Ultimately, who do we want to have the right to play God - doctors or lawyers? I know who I would prefer to trust....
 
#2
I think that a lot of this is down to parents misleading themselves. I know that if I were in the same situation I wouldn't want him to live a life that really isn't worth living - "[he] cannot breathe unaided and is almost totally paralysed, also cannot chew or swallow." If my son were in that state I would have no qualms in having his treatment withdrawn, especially as this has been the case since birth.

I also think that another problem is the phrase "right-to-life". With modern medical advances, we have come to expect life as a "right" which must be maintained above everything else, as if it were more important to be alive than to have quality of life. I know which I would prefer.
 
#3
Now, if i can recall science lessons properly, there are basic functions that deem something/someone to be a living entity, these are:

Movement
Respiration
Sensitivity
Growth
Reproduction
Excretion
Nutrition

As far as i can see, in a very heartless way, the baby doesn't actually hit 3 maybe 4 of these things!

As much as i feel for the parents, and it must be very difficuly, surley the courts shoudl look at the baby and see that it doesn't actually have a "life" ahead of it. It won't live very long, and there a reasons why the body packs in if it can't function anymore. What benifit will the baby have by being forced to stay alive, and what damage will it do to the parents when it actually dies?
 
#4
piespies said:
I think that a lot of this is down to parents misleading themselves. I know that if I were in the same situation I wouldn't want him to live a life that really isn't worth living - "[he] cannot breathe unaided and is almost totally paralysed, also cannot chew or swallow." If my son were in that state I would have no qualms in having his treatment withdrawn, especially as this has been the case since birth.

I also think that another problem is the phrase "right-to-life". With modern medical advances, we have come to expect life as a "right" which must be maintained above everything else, as if it were more important to be alive than to have quality of life. I know which I would prefer.
In my oppinion going off this a little bit
I have a brother who was born 14 weeks prem , He was one pounds 3 ounces born
Yes he did have a lot of medical treatment and yes he as learning disabilties
But the thing is who are we to play god
My parents at the time wanted my brother no matter what and he is a part of them
My point being is what other members pointed out to me and i forgot to mention sorry
is that even if a baby/child is going to attached to machines etc
I think in my opinion no matter what problems a child as its parents will love them no matter what
 
#5
pentwyn said:
In my oppinion going off this a little bit
I have a brother who was born 14 weeks prem , He was one pounds 3 ounces born
Yes he did have a lot of medical treatment and yes he as learning disabilties
But the thing is who are we to play god
My parents at the time wanted my brother no matter what and he is a part of them
I think in my opinion no matter what problems a child as its parents will love them no matter what
You miss the point. Premature babies need medical help to gain the independant ability to live. No problems there.

These cases are children that will require machines to do the work for them for the rest of whatever existance they have. Would you call it living?

edited once for thmb trouble
 
#6
in_the_cheapseats said:
You miss the point. Premature babies need medical help to gain the independant ability to live. No problems there.

These cases are children that will require machines to do the work for them for the rest of whatever existance they have. Would you call it living?
Spot on, that's what I was trying to find the words to say in reply to Pentwyn!

P
 
#7
pentwyn said:
I have a brother who was born 14 weeks prem , He was one pounds 3 ounces born
Yes he did have a lot of medical treatment and yes he as learning disabilties

... but he can still spell better than you ...

you haven't answered my question on the other thread - do you study law ?
 
#8
in_the_cheapseats said:
pentwyn said:
In my oppinion going off this a little bit
I have a brother who was born 14 weeks prem , He was one pounds 3 ounces born
Yes he did have a lot of medical treatment and yes he as learning disabilties
But the thing is who are we to play god
My parents at the time wanted my brother no matter what and he is a part of them
I think in my opinion no matter what problems a child as its parents will love them no matter what
You miss the point. Premature babies need medical help to gain the independant ability to live. No problems there.

These cases are children that will require machines to do the work for them for the rest of whatever existance they have. Would you call it living?

It could be argued that we play God everytime we intervent to save a life. If we did not do this, our neonatal mortality rate would be far higher and out life expectancies far shorter.

However I agree independance is the key...I understand that this child is not only presently paralysed, unable to breath or chew but also that this will get worse! I do believe that sometimes there has to be rationality placed on what is a desparate situation. The NHS is very overspent do we have to start asking how much is a life worth? It is a very uncomfortable question...but if there is no hope of receovery...etc perhaps other lives could be saved?
 
#9
On the other hand if it was a dog or a parrot and you didn't have it put down the rspca would be all over you like a rash.

(As soon as a dog becomes incontinent most vets would be agree it's time for one last walk down the woods with uncle 12 bore)
 
#11
I can understand the parents wanting to do what they see as being best for their child. But at the end of the day medical science can only do so much and their child will never improve. In fact as they get older I am sure they will only suffer more.

What happens if the child outlives the parents. Obviously the child (or adult as they would more than likely be) will be cared for medically but when the parents are gone what simple pleasures will they enjoy.
He said Baby MB could probably see, hear and feel - taking pleasure from the eight or nine hours his family spend with him each day.
The parents should allow their child to die with dignity; and without pain or the constant medical care that they will require for the rest of their life.
 
#12
When my wife was part way through her pregnancy with our daughter, it was found that our baby had a very serious condition which would probably be fatal once she was born. We were offered a termination but refused. As we had refused we were sent to London to see a specialist(partially as our hospital couldnt give a damn), he was not happy about the odds and her long term welfare, however he stated that as a Doctor he was "sworn to save life" and would do all he could for her. We spoke with the surgeon and medical staff until the day arrived when my wife went into labour 6 weeks early. Our daughter was born and spent some months undergowing many operations. For weeks it was touch and go, possible brain damage and long term organ damage we were told but in the end she pulled through and now she's a happy 3 year old, fit and healthy no long term problems and she will lead a normal heathy life apart from some pretty awful scars to remind us all of the troubled start to her life. It was pointed out that had she been born 3-4 years earlier she would have been uncurable and 10 years earlier we would have not even known that she was at risk. medicine moves on.

As long as pillocks can have their sex changed or boobs lifted etc and the NHS pays for it the the NHS can damn well spend its time keeping an innocent baby alive, or would we all like to see the rooms the chinese have to allow babys to die? Or maybe leave em out for the wolves at night, those that are still there in the morning have made it? Or maybe we should deny all HIV sufferers the drugs that keep them alive? The doctors and NHS are tasked with saving life, if the person is able to choose to end it then so be it, but a child deserves, more than any of us, the right to life

Sorry if its a bit of a rant, Soldiers Kill, Doctors save, we are all supposed to protect the weak.
 
#13
Whitehorse,

You have my sympathy for what must have been a horrible time. As I said earlier

in_the_cheapseats said:
You miss the point. Premature babies need medical help to gain the independant ability to live. No problems there.

These cases are children that will require machines to do the work for them for the rest of whatever existance they have. Would you call it living?
I would add that whilst your daughter had what was a sh1tty start to life the doctors knew she had a reasonable possibility of having a meaningful independant life. You were not quite in the same position as this thread is discussing.

Whilst this is an emotive subject

or would we all like to see the rooms the chinese have to allow babys to die? Or maybe leave em out for the wolves at night, those that are still there in the morning have made it?
this is a bit much and not quite what I was getting at.

Back to thread.

If a child is in a persistant and vegetative state is it right to keep it alive against medical judgement?
 
#14
We already have adults that require machines to have a meaningful life, my answer is at what point do WE decide they can't have it. In my opinion WE don't make that decision we build the machines and do the best we can. We don't kill murderers we keep them alive and locked up for 30 years or more so why should we kill/let die innocent children? If you take this argument to its logical conclusion some might argue that we should force mothers to terminate to avoid it in the first place. Then you have selective breeding, roll on 1984, et al.

I think part of the problem is money not meaningful life, although you could argue that the parents meaningful life will be destroyed following their loss. I just don't agree with it. In France a whlle back there was a man who woke up after 17 years in a coma, he was 6 when he went into it. He had few life signs but they refused to cut off the life support, he just woke up one day. With no brain damage, work that one out. When to pull the plug.....maybe never.
 
#15
i say everyone gets plug pulled at 70

and you get more years for working

serving the country and for shooting dole dossers
 
#16
I am with White Horse on this one. I see where you're coming from in_the_cheapseats but you can't take anything for certain, including what doctors say. If the resources are available and if we can do something to prolong the life of a child then we must use whatever is at our disposal despite the odds; you never know what the future holds. Since when do we decide who will stay alive and who won't?
 
#17
Radical_Dreamer said:
If the resources are available and if we can do something to prolong the life of a child then we must use whatever is at our disposal despite the odds; you never know what the future holds.
Hmm, not so sure. Once you tie up equipment, it stays tied up. Equipment in the NHS comes from a finite source. Individuals that come thereafter, who may have a far better chance of life than those using the equipment, will die.

Radical_Dreamer said:
Since when do we decide who will stay alive and who won't?
Being blunt, since we gave the NHS a budget to keep to - see my previous answer.

Another very relevant answer would be since the doctors invented triage and taught us it to use on the battlefield. Why should its use be any different in a hospital - other than on scale?
 
#18
So because we have x thousands of people having elective surgery another x thousands of people not paying into the system yet demanding treatment plus x thousands wasted on other useless "health drives" you think we should now allow children to die because the NHS doesn't have enough money?

Pathetic.
 
#19
The parents stated ' It should be left to god when our baby dies'
Correct me if i'm wrong here but, without that machine keeping the baby alive, then it WOULD have died.
A bit of a contradiction by the parents methinks.
 
#20
Doctors call premature babies bedblockers

Front page on today's Sunday Times.

A continuation of this thread and whilst not quite to the original talking point, directly relevent to the points Whitehorse was making.

My own view - allow doctors to make the hard calls on who the resources are used for rather than lawyers. The balance of power towards the legal profession has swung too far.

Comments?
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads