All entries for Friday 03 March 2006

March 03, 2006

Whose right to life?

There was an article in this Monday's Metro that struck a chord with me. It was a follow-up to this article written in October about two-year-old Charlotte Wyatt, a child born prematurely with brain, lung and kidney damage and who is currently being kept alive on a ventilator.

Now, I know there are many people out there who do not believe in euthanasia in any form. I myself am not entirely sure where I stand on the issue. But suspend your judgement for a moment.

Even if we accepted that it was morally admissable to allow someone to die when they are mortally ill and suffering, there is still a further problem to consider. Who should have the responsibility of making the decision?

In the case of Charlotte, her parents disagree with the health professionals and the judge presiding over her case: they want her to be kept alive by every means possible. I can see both sides of the argument. The health professionals can objectively assess her condition and recognise that her quality of life is terrible. They believe that Charlotte's parents are being unjustifiably hopeful. But should a parent be forced to relinquish their control over the care of their own child?

It seems that in situations where a person cannot lucidly make a decision about their own life, the case becomes very difficult.


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