Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Old enough to die? You decide!

With this being my 500th post, I didnt want to subject you to yet another post about my boring drama. Instead I waited for days and fought through my writers block to bring back my initial intentions for this site... something decent.

Imagine this if you will; Your 13 year old boy has a curfew of 9pm and walks in the doors just before midnight on a school night. What do you do? Punish him or perhaps take his allowance away?

Now imagine if you would, another boy also 13 yr old, is diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer, Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The family has been fighting doctors and local courts siting they belong to a religious group that believes in "natural" healing methods. Their son Daniel has testified he believed chemotherapy would kill him and told the judge that if anyone tried to force him to take it, "I'd fight it. I'd punch them and I'd kick them."

Daniel and his mother are on the run now as court officials issued a nationwide search for their return. Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg, who had ruled last week that Daniel's parents were medically neglecting him, issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for Colleen Hauser and ruled her in contempt of court. Rodenberg also ordered that Daniel be placed in foster care and immediately evaluated by a cancer specialist for treatment.

In the medical profession we're constantly faced with morally challenging decisions. Another example: The 40 something mother of 4 refuses to battle her metastatic cancer and signs Do Not Resuscitate orders refusing all life saving interventions, and instead chooses to "die with dignity". With all the medical advances, her chances of survival are very good, however she fears suffering through rounds of chemo therapy and radiation and instead chooses to say goodbye to her loved ones.

Lets examine another case: In November 2007, a Washington state judge allowed Dennis Lindberg, a 14-year-old Jehovah's Witness sick with leukemia, to refuse a blood transfusion that could 've saved his life. Jehovah's Witnesses believe accepting a blood transfusion violates God's law. The teenager died the same day the decision was made.

When do we say its ok for a person to choose to die? At what age would we believe they were capable of making that decision? And should courts be allowed to over rule a persons religious beliefs?

1 comment:

JJones said...

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