Thursday , February 29 2024
Do we understand any of the consequences of our actions in the Terry Schiavo case?

Asking Life and Death Questions

I have tried to avoid talking about this for a lot of reasons. I have been fatigued by the saturation coverage of this story. I have been turned off by some of the characters involved. I have been nauseated by the politicizing of this (although I recognize the inevitability of that).

Now that the United States Supreme Court has declined to intervene, it appears we now know where this story is going to end.

So what do we all think about it? Me? I do not know. I do not think most of the people talking know. I wish more of them would say so. I sense an awful lot of arrogance in the face of something that ought to be very humbling and hear a lot of noise where I think we should hear a lot of silence. Maybe I am just overcomplicating a simple matter, but I do not think so.

At what point does the concept of life as a value become secondary to the value of quality of life? Does quality of life ever trump life itself and where does that path lead? Who makes that decision? Is anyone among us qualified to answer that question? Is anyone among us qualified to answer that question for another person? Is it ever appropriate for a person to make that decision for someone else? What role do doctors and nurses play in this? What role does the law play?

I am a smart guy. And I feel stupid when I consider those questions. There are only two things of which I feel pretty sure in this situation. The first: we should probably make these decisions for ourselves if only to try and keep this out of the court system (to say nothing of sparing families additional anguish). The second: we have opened a dangerous and troubling can of worms.

Beyond that I am just not sure. I do not know what I would want done to/for me were I in similar circumstances. I cannot even begin to comprehend being asked these questions in the event my wife found herself in this situation. I do not even want to think about the hell it would be for a parent in this situation.

I just don’t know.

About Josh Hathaway

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