Monday, July 30, 2012

English Medical Ethicist Says Death Is Good For Health

An English medical ethicist implies that death is better for your health than life is -  at least that is the implication in this quote (emphasis added):
"medical advances have led to a vastly increased capacity to keep people alive without, in many cases, providing any real benefit to their health."
This thought is rampant in the medical ethics community, where many have lost any anchor in morality. It is purely about situational ethics and relativism.

Here is more about what is going on in England:
Hydrating and feeding dementia patients is a waste of the National Health Service’s resources, a leading medical ethicist has said.

In an article for the British Medical Journal, the chairman of the Institute of Medical Ethics criticised a High Court judgment in September last year, which concluded that it would not be in the best interests of a brain-damaged woman to withdraw her artificial hydration and nutrition.

Writing under the heading “Sanctity of life has gone too far”, Professor Raanan Gillon, who is also an emeritus professor at Imperial College London, said: “The logical implications of this judgment threaten to skew the delivery of severely resource-limited healthcare services towards providing non-beneficial or minimally beneficial life-prolonging treatments including artificial nutrition and hydration to thousands of severely demented patients whose families and friends believe they would not have wanted such treatment.

“The opportunity cost will probably be reduced provision of indisputably beneficial treatments to people who do want them.”
Continue Reading.


Katy Anders said...

That's some impeccable logic there.

I thought it would make more sense when I actually read the words as he had said them.

But nope.

Life provides no medical benefit for their health. Creepy!

Br. Gabriel Thomas, OP said...

Let's be fair. St. Thomas Aquinas exhorts us to read a person's position with as much charity as possible. In that light it is easy to see where the ethicist is coming from. In end of life care one has to be careful to distinguish between when medical intervention is preserving life or prolonging death. While we must always strive to preserve life we should never feel the need to prolong death. It can be a hard call. In some cases it is better to allow the natural processes of life and death run their course. There are a lot of qualifications to be made here, but this just goes to the point that in end of life care there is a lot of nuance and a lot of ambiguity in the distinctions.

This should push us even in our younger years to have serious conversations about end of life care with our loved ones. We should try to formulate, with the help of Catholic's who are well educated in medical/bio ethics, a plan for those who may be made responsible for our end stage care. It is an uncomfortable conversation to have but better than leaving our loved ones with making decisons on our behalf without the benefit of good Catholic morality.