Thursday, October 14, 2004

Who should have more right over a child's life..parents..doctors..the courts ??!!!

On the 8th of October, it was reported in The Times that the courts had taken the decision that the next time she stops breathing she shouldn't be resuscitated and baby Charlotte must be allowed to die.......

Its been haunting me ever since....

I have taken a long time to post this..mulling over it in my head again and again and again..baby Charlotte's picture..her face covered in tubes..her eyes vacant and staring (or were they trying to say something ???)....

My instinctive reaction was that it was the parents prerogative to decide, that they should have the first right over their daughter's life ! They wanted their daughter, who was born prematurely, to have a fighting chance to survive, that she be given every chance to live. Surely it was the parent's prerogative..their choice ?

But then again....

Parents may not always be right, perhaps we need a more objective eye to decide what is best in the longer run. The quality of Baby Charlotte's life was terrible since the moment she was born. She had been kept alive only because of the machines and it was known that this is how she would live ..if at all..alive..but only in name...

I don't know whats right any more..I can see both view points..I understand both..and feel both are right..I can't make up my mind about what's right in this case....

and Baby Charlotte's face continues to haunt me.....
and today another desperately ill baby's fate is going to be decided in court.See here for article.

11 Comments:

At 1:44 PM, Blogger Rachel Ann said...

I don't know. These situations break my heart. One of the articles on the site mentioned a child who survived till the age of 3.5; she was severely retarded but she had a life. Who gets to decide the happiness of someone else? Did this child smile? Did she enjoy being held and cuddled? Why should that be considered less of a value than being able to reach adulthood?

Pincushion, I hope more people read your comment and come here; btw her is a link to more information about this particular disease.
http://www.cafamily.org.uk/Direct/e18.html

I don't know; I wish I did. These are questions I would turn over to my Rabbi.

It might be easier for some parents if the state/hospital makes that decision but it isn't necessarily more moral.

Well, that was definitve of me wasn't it?

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger Pincushion said...

Thank you Rachel for replying so promptly ! I do hope that more people read this, I do so need to understand how to deal with this issue. People might wonder why its so important when I have no personal issues..but I have worked with challenged children before..I have seen parents struggling and the hope and the sadness and the eternal questions that haunt..
Thank you for the url and your comment...take care.

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger Rachel Ann said...

I'm blogging about it on my site and hope people come from that also. I am basically giving them a quick synopsis and asking them to come here.

It reminds me of the Terri can't remember her last name case here in the USA where the woman is on a feeding tube. Parents want to continue her care, husband (who apparently is living with someone else now) does not.

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger Pincushion said...

Thank you Rachel for mentioning me on your blog and directing readers here. I really appreciate it and also your honesty :-). Also thank you for the link and the info about the Terri Case. Thank you..Take care..

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger Madcap said...

Funny that you mention baby charlotte’s situation. My first reaction was ferocious; there is no way I am going to let these poxy doctors decide to let my daughter die if this was the case. No way at all. Then people said that it’s not fair, the child is in pain, disabled, so on and so forth. My reaction was, she is my blood, she has life, yes, she may have pain and she may be disabled, but I will not let her go as long as possible. No way, what do these doctor’s know anyway? Their job is to prolong life, none of their business to decide on when to let my baby go.

 
At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like animals in a zoo whose world is their cage, so also with the child born unfortunate. They would certainly take pleasure in being held and being cared like someone said and I suppose maybe they also take the constant pain as a normal existence for they know nothing better.
Logically it should be the child who should decide, but then that's not only an impossibility but also a folly, for like the caged animal the child would perhaps want to live on in captivity and suffering.
The beast is meant for the jungle and not the cage, no matter how well fed it is.
The only deciding factor thus is the degree of freedom (or disability).
In such extreme cases, one must set them free. I would myself not like to live like that.
The parents have selfish reasons no matter how noble they seem.

 
At 7:56 PM, Blogger tan247 said...

This is an extremely sad situation, one that has a parent, I hope that I never find myself in. I believe in some instances that the parents should be the ones to make decisions regarding the life of their child. On the other hand, it is not always such a clear-cut decision. The parents are obviously emotionally torn by the health of their infant. The physicians tending to this precious baby have invested years of higher education in the study of medicine and it's effect on the human body. If they have determined (without any doubts) that this baby's suffering is in vain, then she should be freed from the pain and trauma that she is undoubtedly experiencing. This poor baby entered this world struggling. When one needs a machine to sustain life, after a while you should begin to wonder and ask yourself what the meaning of life is. It is certainly not lying in a hospital bed with tubes connected to various parts of your body as well as a machine that is designed to ensure that your heart continues to beat and that your organs continue to function properly. I for one would not want to live this way. I pray that the parents seek comfort, understanding & guidance from God so that they will be at peace with the ultimate decision that is made, whether it is their decision or the courts. God bless this little angel.

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Pincushion said...

Thank you Madcap, anon, and Tan for responding and stating your views. I appreciate it very much. It is a very big ethical dilemma which has very far-reaching consequences and I suppose there are really no clear cut generalisations which can be made here. Its a double edged sword, a sort of to be or not to be situation and either ways the loss is huge and extremely painful for all parties concerned. At this point all we can do is pray for peace for the parents for the poor suffering babies, and everybody else connected to their lives..

 
At 4:55 PM, Blogger Akshay said...

Great post , it got me thinking and as I can see from the comments it got allot of other people thinking too. I would have commented too but I think you have called it exactly right.

It is a ethical is an ethical quagmire. My prayers go out to the parents of little Charlotte .

 
At 7:08 PM, Blogger anne berit said...

As you wished I shall try to give a comment to your post. And it will be a long one.....

Let me first say: there is no easy way in these cases, whichever decision it will be it will cause difficulty and problems for the family and those around.

I do know the cases from UK only through newspaper, web and television. I don't knew a lot about them.

What I do know is that a little child who is suffering touch us (as it should!) There is so much future, so many hopes!

As a pastor I also know that sometimes a little life is over almost before it has started! To loose a child is so hard, I do whish that no one had to endure it! It is the saddest and hardest ting ever to follow a child to an early grave. That is, I think, way we fight so hard for the life of children!!

In a way I think there is something good about not having to decide if your childs life can go on or not. That is a decision no parents should have to make!! But then again the parents view is important when such a decision shall be made..

But sometimes maybe the parents need help to let go of a very sick girl or boy. For surely there is life even though it is a machine that do the breathing and so on. But what kind of life is it?? Is it a life that you would want your child to have? I have to say I'm not sure!

I belive that it is God who gives us life and that he also gave us wisdom and gifts that we use to save a number of lives each day. Also I belive that all those little girls and boys who dies each year goes to a loving and caring God and that they don't suffer. So also for baby Charlotte, if that is what happends.

My heart goes out to these families, and my prayers goes to God!

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger Pincushion said...

Thank you Akshay for visiting and expressing your viewpoint and support on the issue and of course your prayers ! We can only hope and pray for peace....

Thank you Anne for visiting and expressing your thoughts on the issue. Your comment is extremely thoughtful and full of compassion and yes you are so right in so many of the things that you said..No parent should have to be faced with this kind of decision, its the worst possible position for a parent to be in..AS a person of God your view is invaluable and you have helped me too in thinking about in a clearer manner..
Thank you ever so much !

 

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