Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Schiavo & Hudson & Nikolouzos

Originally, I was going to stay out of the whole Schiavo thing; generally I think this lady is dead in every way that matters. I don't really understand why anyone on any side gets all that upset. I mean, I understand the parents and the husband, but not everyone else. She isn't in pain, she isn't going to get better, she doesn't have any dignity to worry about, she's dead. But then Bush cancels a vacation for the first time in his presidency to stick his nose into the whole mess.

But what makes this all he more interesting is in 1999 George Bush signed a law allowing hospitals in Texas to stop supporting terminally ill patients, even against the wishes of the patient and family. A six month old boy recently died due to that law. Read about it here. These are all interesting moral issues and virtually all of us struggle at least a bit on how we would react in these situations. But the fact Bush would showboat and step in directly in one situation yet sign a law that leads to similar situations is just plain bazaar.
Sun Hudson, a six-month-old boy with a fatal congenital disease, died Thursday after a Texas hospital, over his mother's objections, withdrew his feeding tube. The child was apparently certain to die, but was conscious. [Or perhaps not: see third update below.] The hospital simply decided that it had better things to do than keeping the child alive, and the Texas courts upheld that decision after the penniless mother failed, during the 10-day window provided for by Texas law, to find another institution willing to take the child .

Where, I would ask, is the outrage? In particular, where is the outrage from those like Tom DeLay, who referred to the withdrawal of Terry Schiavo's life support as "murder"? If it's appropriate to Federalize the Schiavo case, what about the people being terminated simply because their cases are hopeless and their bank accounts empty?

Sun Hudson is dead, but 68-year-old Spiro Nikolouzos is still alive, thanks to an emergency appeals court order issued yesterday. However, his life support could be cut off at any moment. A nursing home is willing to take him if his family can show that he will be covered by Medicaid after his Medicare runs out. Otherwise, the hospital gets to pull the plug.

UPDATE: Check out an interesting liberal perspective from The Talking Dog:When the Wrong People try to do the Wrong Thing for the Right Reason.

UPDATE 2: The Moderate Voice is horrified by Bush and company on this, for what some would call conservative reasons. See Barry Goldwater And Ronald Reagan Are Turning Over In Their Graves and a follow up.