Monday, February 23, 2009

The Myth of the 'Vegetative State'

I'm against pulling the plug on people who appear to be dead, just because it's convenient. Not because of religious objections—for religious I am not, as my readers should have figured out by now—but because in my book, if there's any 'right' that we ought to grant to others is the 'default' right, if you will, to live. Death should only be inflicted on those who really, honestly and truly do not have a chance to ever recover anything resembling consciousness.

That the default-situation. There will be exceptions, but pulling plugs is not an acceptable default option. It is, however, becoming just that—as anybody with more than two neuron connected together should have figured out when they started making this kind of thing socially acceptable.

Now there appears to be evidence that this practice is killing people in pretty horrific percentages. Which could also have been predicted—and I did. When I voiced this—and I soon gave up, because there's no point trying to talk to people who don't want to listen or to know—it was poo-hoohed, as such things usually are. And, no, I didn't voice it to religious people, but to those claiming to be at least agnostic and definitely 'rational'.

I know, I know. What kind of quality of life do these 'vegetative state' people have? What kind of life can they ever have? And should resources really be allocated to those in such states, when the same resources might be applied to save those who have a real hope to live and to live what we might judge to be 'full lives'?

Well, maybe. But methinks that argument is already halfway down a slope so slippery that there's really no way to ever turn back.

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