Death is a part of life. It is going to happen to everyone no matter what. It is just a matter of how and when. No one knows when it is going to happen, but a family member could have a say in the matter.
Every day, people are on their hospital beds being too ill, too old, or injured to a point where it could affect their entire livelihood. In these extreme cases, many of them would have to struggle mightily to get back to normalcy. Doctors could give these patients’ loved ones the choice in whether or not life support should be shut off allowing the patient to stop having to suffer.
It is a big debate in the medical world today. Some people believe that no one should be able to choose for the patient and others believe it might be necessary in some cases.
In one of the most infamous cases of this, actress Natasha Richardson was severely injured in a skiing incident in 2009. According to Fox News’ Jessica Doyle, it was decided that life support should be taken off after a few days. When asked about when one should be taken off of life support, Dr. Eric Braverman, an assistant professor at Cornell said, “You pull the plug when the person has no brain waves, and no hope of quality of life.” Although the details of Richardson’s injury was never publically explained, there didn’t seem to be any issue with the decision.
But what about any disagreements that arise?
Terri Schiavo spent a much longer time in a vegetative state than Richardson. Eight years to be exact. Her husband wanted the feeding tube removed not too long after Schiavo’s incident, but her parents thought she could eventually make it through and live her life again. After the seven year battle, it was finally decided that the feeding tube would be taken away and Schiavo died about two weeks later.
Disagreements like this one eventually find themselves in court where the final decision is made. There even have been cases in which the doctor and family disagree.
There is nothing easy about these kind of decisions and there is no way around it if it ever finds your family. Personally, I think life support should be taken away if the victim reaches the point of braindead. Hopefully though, we can all avoid having deal with the situation like the Schiavo and Richardson families had to go through.
Doyle, Jessica. “When is the Right Time to Turn Off Life Support?” Fox News. March 19, 2009. www.foxnews.com. http://www.foxnews.com/story/2009/03/19/when-is-right-time-to-turn-off-life-support.html