Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Who should decide?

Who should decide when to stop life support on a terminally ill patient? I was reading through news stories tonight when I came across the story from Austin, TX about Emilio Gonzales.

Emilio is a 17 month old toddler who is on life support. He is unable to breathe or eat without assistance. He was admitted to Children's Hospital in Austin in Dec. 2006. The doctors evidently don't actually "know" whats wrong with him but they think that he has Leigh's Disease.

Leigh's disease is a rare inherited neurometabolic disorder characterized by degeneration of the central nervous system. There is some treatment for this disease however most die within a few years of being diagnosed.

Emilio's mother is fighting to keep him on support, however Texas has a state law (signed in by then Gov. George Bush) that allows the hospitals to decide when to stop life support. Many are comparing this case to Teri Scheivo but I think that's an unfair comparison. Emilio is not completely brain dead even though he requires assistance.

As a mother of a toddler it breaks my heart to read this story. I understand the quality of life arguments but I don't think that it is the place of the medical facility (or the government) to decide when a family has to stop medical care. According to the mothers attorneys the hospital would not be providing medicine to help the child be comfortable as he is dying, a death that would definitely be hard and painful for both Emilio and his family. Imagine watching your child suffocate to death. That is essentially what will happen to this innocent child when his breathing tube is removed.

Hug your children tighter today and be thankful that they are healthy, and if you can spare prayers/thoughts for Emilio's family today.


Template Design | Elque 2007