Who Determines When Is Life Gone from a Person on Life Support Systems?

Topics: Medical ethics, Nervous system, Central nervous system Pages: 2 (505 words) Published: October 20, 2008
Who Determines When is Life Gone From a Person on Life Support Systems?

The judge should have the final say in when a person should be taken off of life support, with two disagreeable parties. Unfortunately, the person on life support does not have the ability to determine when to end life support. The battle is perhaps one of the most important cases the court system has dealt with. For the first time in history, medical ethics have been under great inquiry.

Over the past few years, there have been many life support cases across the country. In Austin, Texas, a mother fights for her son to stay on life support. “Emilio is 17 months old and has a rare genetic disorder that's ravaging his central nervous system. He cannot see, speak, or eat” (Cohen, 1). Emilio has a ventilator that breathes for him, without it, he would die. When Emilio is in his mother’s arms, sometimes he’ll make a facial expression that his mother says is a smile, although nurse’s say that this is an expression of suffering. So which one is it? This question has sparked an ethical debate, which has taken a mother of a dying child against a children’s hospital and medical ethicists against each other. Texas has a law that Children’s Hospitals have to right to withdrawal life support systems if it is medically inappropriate. “The hospital contends that keeping Emilio alive on a ventilator is painful for the toddler and useless against his illness -- Leigh's disease, a rare degenerative disorder that has no cure” (Cohen, 1). However, the mother believes that keeping the baby on life support system would allow her son to die "naturally, the way God intended." In this situation, it is evident that the two sides disagree on whether to take Emilio off life support. It is critical that this case must be brought to court to decide the outcome of this case. On the contrary, a 12-year court battle over the life or death of Terry Schiavo was popular among the press. The 41-year-old Terry Schiavo...
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