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Author Topic: This disturbed me  (Read 8939 times)

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Offline Oniya

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Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #275 on: January 17, 2014, 03:53:43 PM »
Since there would be no written DNR, and the husband knew she was pregnant at the time of her collapse, then the hospital would still be coming out to say 'we have no brain function'.  (They'd probably ask if she or the family had considered organ donation at the same time.)  The husband would then have the ability to say 'she wanted this child' or 'she didn't want to be on machines.' 

Offline chaoslord29

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #276 on: January 17, 2014, 03:59:15 PM »
It is unclear to me from your question whether you are asking whether Mr. Munoz would have the right to sue on behalf of his deceased wife's estate or on his own behalf as father of the fetus. In either case, I doubt he would. 

First, though unwritten, Ms. Munoz's instruction was presumably unqualified -- i.e., "pull the plug," not "pull the plug unless I'm pregnant." The best indication of what she wanted is what she actually said. Inference from the fact of her pregnancy is, at best, dicey and clairvoyance should not be required of the hospital.

Second, Mr. Munoz's wishes regarding loss of the fetus are probably legally irrelevant. A hospital's duties generally run to its patient. If Ms. Munoz unequivocally directed termination of life support no matter what the consequence for her fetus, I suspect Mr. Munoz would have little say in the matter and, thus, no right to sue on his own behalf for its demise.   

Third, Ms. Munoz is beyond any sort of mental or physical suffering, and really can't be said to still have any further interest in the matter. Even if she had instructed the hospital to keep her on life support after death for the benefit of the fetus, she would suffer no cognizable injury from the hospital's botching her direction and, accordingly, no malpractice claim would pass on to her estate. 

Finally, although nothing in Texas law would surprise me, I suspect most jurisdictions do not recognize a cause of action for malpractice or battery or wrongful death on the part of a fetus (though some have criminalized fetal homicide in certain circumstances).   

To be clear I meant on behalf of her estate, but given you answer I'm fairly convinced he would have no legal standing (whatever the admittedly gray morals of the situation are).

I think though your point about Ms. Munoz's instructions being presumably unqualified is an interesting one. I re-checked the original article and the husband seems to suggest something about 'extended time' rather than an at all situation. Which of course creates the problem of what a reasonable amount of time is to leave a person on life-support given that they are pregnant with a child that they wished to carry to term.

You seem fairly familiar with the law though, tell me, do you know anything specifically about what the charges are in the execution of a persons post-mortem wishes? That seems to me to very much be a crux in this debate, whether the important thing is honoring Mrs. Munoz's end of life wishes, or whether the execution of those wishes is purely up to Mr. Munoz.

Offline IStateYourName

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #277 on: January 17, 2014, 04:01:08 PM »
By contrast, in the situation at hand, she is carrying her own child and expressed a pre-mortem wish to carry that child to term, and we cannot establish whether she would have prioritized said desire to continue incubating the fetus (by whatever means necessary) ahead of her apparent desire not to be kept on life support. To that end, I assert no one else has the right to prioritize one head of the other and we must wait until the fetus either miscarries or proves viable.

Let me posit another hypothetical to help illustrate that point. Say Mrs. Munoz had a no living will but had expressed a desire not to be kept on life-support and so the hospital did exactly that, only to discover post-mortem, that she had been pregnant. Would Mr. Munoz then be within his rights to sue the hospital for wrongful termination of his wife's pregnancy without her express wishes?

Sorry, but the goalposts here seem to be moving from "we weren't really sure of Munoz's condition" to a variant of "every sperm is sacred" and allowing the rights of a fetus in unknown condition to trump the rights of a dead woman, her husband, her family and her doctors.

The rights of the fetus do not trump the rights of the mother.  That's settled law.  Women are not mere incubators. 

Offline Iniquitous

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #278 on: January 17, 2014, 04:18:20 PM »
A fetus has no rights. It is not a person, it is not protected by laws.

The mother's right to choose whether she would remain on machines or not was made and communicated to both her husband and her family. It is that decision made by the mother which is being ignored - presumably to cover the hospital's ass because of a law that was passed which takes away a woman's right to decide what is done with her body postmortem.

Which brings us back to the fact that this is, in fact, a violation of the 14th Amendment. As a citizen of this country, Mrs. Munoz had the legally protected right to decide what was done with her body postmortem. She made that decision and made it clear to husband and family what it was. (Do not bring up the fact it was not written down in an AD or living will. From the way the law reads it wouldn't have mattered, the hospital and state can overlook it - which pretty much makes it a useless piece of paper) The hospital chose to ignore the wishes because of the fetus - a fetus that has no rights whatsoever. Call me a monster, but that means the fetus has no right to life. No right to trump the mother's final wishes. And the state has no right to try and claim such.

Offline vtboy

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #279 on: January 17, 2014, 04:21:08 PM »
You seem fairly familiar with the law though, tell me, do you know anything specifically about what the charges are in the execution of a persons post-mortem wishes? That seems to me to very much be a crux in this debate, whether the important thing is honoring Mrs. Munoz's end of life wishes, or whether the execution of those wishes is purely up to Mr. Munoz.

Regrettably, I don't. The unusual circumstance of pregnancy aside, though, I find it hard to believe the late patient's instructions can be trumped by anyone else. Of course, they are often conveyed by next of kin who may not be the most reliable relators.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #280 on: January 17, 2014, 04:29:45 PM »
Sorry, but the goalposts here seem to be moving from "we weren't really sure of Munoz's condition" to a variant of "every sperm is sacred" and allowing the rights of a fetus in unknown condition to trump the rights of a dead woman, her husband, her family and her doctors.

The rights of the fetus do not trump the rights of the mother.  That's settled law.  Women are not mere incubators.

That's an insipid and trite evaluation which naturally favors your own view points in this matter. I suggest you review the extensive discussion several pages ago wherein Onya, myself, and a few others made very clear the distinction in this case and an extreme interpretation of the 'potential human being' stance.

Suffice to say, there aren't "goal posts", we're simply trying to tease out an optimal situation or grounds on which we can all agree to a common moral standard, principle, or preference in this matter.

Thanks to Iniquitous, we are very much more sure about her condition in regards to being brain-dead, and for the sake of argument, I ceded on the previous page that it was agreeable to treat this as legally dead for the continued debate. That still leaves unanswered however the question as to which of Mrs. Munoz's wishes (to have a child, not to remain on life support) take precedence over the other given that each is established only through hearsay.

Besides which, the discussion which you a referencing is an examination of not the fetus's rights in contrast to the mother's, but the fetus's rights in contrast to the father's disposal of the mother's body.

A fetus has no rights. It is not a person, it is not protected by laws.

The mother's right to choose whether she would remain on machines or not was made and communicated to both her husband and her family. It is that decision made by the mother which is being ignored - presumably to cover the hospital's ass because of a law that was passed which takes away a woman's right to decide what is done with her body postmortem.

Which brings us back to the fact that this is, in fact, a violation of the 14th Amendment. As a citizen of this country, Mrs. Munoz had the legally protected right to decide what was done with her body postmortem. She made that decision and made it clear to husband and family what it was. (Do not bring up the fact it was not written down in an AD or living will. From the way the law reads it wouldn't have mattered, the hospital and state can overlook it - which pretty much makes it a useless piece of paper) The hospital chose to ignore the wishes because of the fetus - a fetus that has no rights whatsoever. Call me a monster, but that means the fetus has no right to life. No right to trump the mother's final wishes. And the state has no right to try and claim such.

But you are the one ignoring the mother's other pre-mortem decision; that she expressly made clear that she had every intention of carrying the child to term. Given that she may very well still be able to do that and be taken off life-support after a certain point, why should the family's privilege to dispose of their daughter's body take precedence over the fetus's potential for life?

Also, you're misinterpreting the defense of termination of pregnancy under the 14th Amendment. In point of fact, the 14th Amendment guarantees the right to Abortion under equal protection under the law; that is to say, it is illegal for states to establish laws against abortion because that unfairly targets pregnant women. It is that principle which the Texas State Law is in violation of, but the 14th Amendment does not in fact establish that a fetus is not a life and does not have rights.

A woman's absolute sovereign right to control of her body is a moral standard applied to the debate on abortion, and one which I fully support. Which is why, I reiterate, no one can decide to terminate her pregnancy for her. In fact, I'm going to go the whole 9 yards on that one. The woman has absolute sovereign right to control of her body. Hearsay is not enough to establish what her will would have been in regards to the disposal of her body, therefore the husband has no right to interpret her will in this matter, therefore she cannot be taken off life-support.

Regrettably, I don't. The unusual circumstance of pregnancy aside, though, I find it hard to believe the late patient's instructions can be trumped by anyone else. Of course, they are often conveyed by next of kin who may not be the most reliable relators.
Actually, as it happens, a further examination of your arguments, and my own moral standards, has lead me to believe that it is wrong to decide this matter at all on the basis of mere hearsay. That if we're looking to uphold this woman's absolute sovereignty over her own body, that we cannot accept anything less than a written will in the execution of her mortal remains.

I'm hardening my position, the family's wishes are wholly irrelevant in this matter. The only thing that matters is that Mrs. Munoz is on life-support and her will to remain as such (regardless of pregnancy) cannot, in fact, be explicitly established, therefore no one has any authority to pull the plug.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 04:34:13 PM by chaoslord29 »

Offline vtboy

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #281 on: January 17, 2014, 04:40:19 PM »
Which brings us back to the fact that this is, in fact, a violation of the 14th Amendment. As a citizen of this country, Mrs. Munoz had the legally protected right to decide what was done with her body postmortem. She made that decision and made it clear to husband and family what it was. (Do not bring up the fact it was not written down in an AD or living will. From the way the law reads it wouldn't have mattered, the hospital and state can overlook it - which pretty much makes it a useless piece of paper) The hospital chose to ignore the wishes because of the fetus - a fetus that has no rights whatsoever. Call me a monster, but that means the fetus has no right to life. No right to trump the mother's final wishes. And the state has no right to try and claim such.

The right of a living but very ill person to have life support discontinued is one thing, and may arguably be protected by some notion of due process under the 14th Amendment. I doubt, however, the dead have any rights under the Amendment. Any limitation on what laws a state may enact regarding treatment of our earthly remains, or the respect that must be accorded our wishes for their disposition, would need be found in the Constitution. As I recall, though, the document is silent on the subject. I am unaware of any decisional law which has found such a constitutional constraint exists. If you know of any, I would be fascinated to read it.

Offline IStateYourName

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #282 on: January 17, 2014, 05:01:26 PM »

But you are the one ignoring the mother's other pre-mortem decision; that she expressly made clear that she had every intention of carrying the child to term. Given that she may very well still be able to do that and be taken off life-support after a certain point, why should the family's privilege to dispose of their daughter's body take precedence over the fetus's potential for life?

There's a world of difference between being a mother--that is, getting to birth, breast-feed, potty-train, teach to talk, see the first steps of, getting to raise a child--and having one's body used as an incubator and then discarded.

I don't believe you can casually equate the first with the second.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #283 on: January 17, 2014, 05:07:13 PM »
There's a world of difference between being a mother--that is, getting to birth, breast-feed, potty-train, teach to talk, see the first steps of, getting to raise a child--and having one's body used as an incubator and then discarded.

I don't believe you can casually equate the first with the second.
Don't confuse the issue. This isn't a discussion of the finer points of mothering and motherhood, I can very well add the word 'expecting' in front of my use of the term mother, and my point remains just as valid. In fact, you are still ignoring the question even in this post.

You know what, here, same question:
Quote
But you are the one ignoring the expecting mother's other pre-mortem decision; that she expressly made clear that she had every intention of carrying the child to term. Given that she may very well still be able to do that and be taken off life-support after a certain point, why should the family's privilege to dispose of their daughter's body take precedence over the fetus's potential for life?

Do try and be a little bit more constructive and a little less flippant in your contributions to this thread please; I would greatly appreciate it.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 05:08:20 PM by chaoslord29 »

Offline IStateYourName

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #284 on: January 17, 2014, 05:19:29 PM »
Don't confuse the issue. This isn't a discussion of the finer points of mothering and motherhood, I can very well add the word 'expecting' in front of my use of the term mother, and my point remains just as valid. In fact, you are still ignoring the question even in this post.

But this is a discussion of the decedent's desires and intentions.  And the point I'm making is you can't assume that, just because she wanted to be a mother someday, she would want to be used as an incubator after her own death.  Being a mother is so much more than merely growing a child inside you.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #285 on: January 17, 2014, 05:28:07 PM »
But this is a discussion of the decedent's desires and intentions.  And the point I'm making is you can't assume that, just because she wanted to be a mother someday, she would want to be used as an incubator after her own death.  Being a mother is so much more than merely growing a child inside you.

Well she had one child so we know that she wanted to be a mother, and is a mother, and wanted to be a mother for this child too, which presumably includes the process of incubating the child in life. So why should it be any different now that she's brain-dead? If we can't presume either way, then isn't the most practical decision to do nothing? Not to make any decision on her behalf?

Offline IStateYourName

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #286 on: January 17, 2014, 07:03:44 PM »
Well she had one child so we know that she wanted to be a mother, and is a mother, and wanted to be a mother for this child too, which presumably includes the process of incubating the child in life. So why should it be any different now that she's brain-dead? If we can't presume either way, then isn't the most practical decision to do nothing? Not to make any decision on her behalf?

Gee, I don't know.  Admittedly I'm going on some personal parental experience here: my life is profoundly different since I had the experience of being a father, of watching a child grow and develop, and taking part in that.  Somehow, I don't think being a sperm donor would have been quite the same.  But who knows?  Maybe YMMV.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #287 on: January 17, 2014, 07:51:49 PM »
Just weighing in here, like I often do.
I'd say if she was a parent, and planned to have a second kid, via intentionally conceving one. Let her body give birth to the baby, give it to the father (or an orphanage if situation warrents) then disconnect her from life support. Maybe I'm biased due to my recognition of the fetus as a future person, but "mommy kept her body alive to give birth to you even after she died" seems like a better ending to the narritive, and two people dying which seems like a waste of two lives.

Offline Sabby

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #288 on: January 17, 2014, 08:57:33 PM »
Just weighing in here, like I often do.
I'd say if she was a parent, and planned to have a second kid, via intentionally conceving one. Let her body give birth to the baby, give it to the father (or an orphanage if situation warrents) then disconnect her from life support. Maybe I'm biased due to my recognition of the fetus as a future person, but "mommy kept her body alive to give birth to you even after she died" seems like a better ending to the narritive, and two people dying which seems like a waste of two lives.

Just curious, are you aware that the child runs a high chance of being severely disabled and may not survive? Because I'd actually agree with you if not for that.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #289 on: January 17, 2014, 09:06:49 PM »
Just curious, are you aware that the child runs a high chance of being severely disabled and may not survive? Because I'd actually agree with you if not for that.

That is somthing I was decidely not aware on, so my stance has gon from "just let her have the kid", to "Crossing my fingers and hope whatever's decided it all works out for the best."

Offline Sabby

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #290 on: January 17, 2014, 09:14:46 PM »
Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best is something I do when I buy something off Ebay, not condemn a child to a broken existence and an early death, when that suffering was entirely avoidable. The fetus is not alive yet, and to bring it to life in full knowledge of the consequences is far more immoral to me then simply terminating a damaged pregnancy.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #291 on: January 17, 2014, 09:17:17 PM »
Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best is something I do when I buy something off Ebay, not condemn a child to a broken existence and an early death, when that suffering was entirely avoidable. The fetus is not alive yet, and to bring it to life in full knowledge of the consequences is far more immoral to me then simply terminating a damaged pregnancy.

You jumped the gun sabby.
I meant I cannot effect the situation, and my opinion is conflicted, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that whatever decision the family, state, and whatnot come to is for the best in the end.

Offline Sabby

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #292 on: January 17, 2014, 09:19:56 PM »
Oh my xD I apologize. Reading back, you weren't unclear.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #293 on: January 17, 2014, 09:21:46 PM »
Oh my xD I apologize. Reading back, you weren't unclear.

*patpats*
it's okay the internet is a place for information and opinion without context.

Offline vtboy

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #294 on: January 18, 2014, 06:45:13 AM »
A woman's absolute sovereign right to control of her body is a moral standard applied to the debate on abortion, and one which I fully support. Which is why, I reiterate, no one can decide to terminate her pregnancy for her. In fact, I'm going to go the whole 9 yards on that one. The woman has absolute sovereign right to control of her body. Hearsay is not enough to establish what her will would have been in regards to the disposal of her body, therefore the husband has no right to interpret her will in this matter, therefore she cannot be taken off life-support.

Actually, as it happens, a further examination of your arguments, and my own moral standards, has lead me to believe that it is wrong to decide this matter at all on the basis of mere hearsay. That if we're looking to uphold this woman's absolute sovereignty over her own body, that we cannot accept anything less than a written will in the execution of her mortal remains.

I'm hardening my position, the family's wishes are wholly irrelevant in this matter. The only thing that matters is that Mrs. Munoz is on life-support and her will to remain as such (regardless of pregnancy) cannot, in fact, be explicitly established, therefore no one has any authority to pull the plug.

The problem in insisting on a written directive from the patient is that human beings, being the frail, scatter-brained, time-pressed, reality-denying, imprudent creatures they are, often don't have them. While next-of-kin may sometimes be unreliable relators, their stated recollections are often the only evidence or the best evidence of what the deceased wanted. To adopt a rule requiring the maintenance of life-support in the absence of a writing, no matter how compelling the unwritten evidence that the decedent's wishes were to the contrary, would actually violate the "absolute sovereignty" over body you say you are attempting to uphold.

Further, I think it is reasonable to assume that living wills are made more frequently by the affluent and the educated than by others. The requirement of a living will (or similar piece of paper) is thus likely to impose a disproportionate disability on poorer and less educated members of society in end-of-life decision making, just as rules requiring the presentation of photo IDS tend disproportionately to burden them in the exercise of the franchise. Disparate impact on the young may also be expected, since they often have greater difficulty than the mature conceiving of and planning for decline and mortality.   

Living is an imperfect endeavor, and I can think of no reason to expect dying to be better. Even a living will may be inartfully or incompletely drawn, requiring reference to extrinsic evidence from kin to resolve ambiguities. However regrettable may be the absence of clear written instructions from the deceased, it would only be worse to apply some inflexible, legal mandate that we keep running in perpetuity the biological, blood-pumping machine she left behind.

Offline meikle

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #295 on: January 18, 2014, 06:57:24 AM »
Well she had one child so we know that she wanted to be a mother, and is a mother, and wanted to be a mother for this child too, which presumably includes the process of incubating the child in life. So why should it be any different now that she's brain-dead? If we can't presume either way, then isn't the most practical decision to do nothing? Not to make any decision on her behalf?

Then isn't the right thing to do to trust what she said she wanted, ie, not to be kept on life support after she was dead?  Not to seek ways to interpret other things she said and try to decide what might overrule what she actually said, which was that she did not want to be kept on life support if she were to die?

Trying to turn "she was a mom and liked being a mom" into "she wants to be turned into a living incubator in the case of her death" is absolutely not "doing nothing"; letting her die (as she wanted) is doing nothing.  Keeping her corpse on life support so that a child can be brought to term inside of a braindead body is most definitely the opposite of choosing to "do nothing"; if nothing was done, her body would follow her brain into death and so would the fetus.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 07:02:24 AM by meikle »

Offline Iniquitous

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #296 on: January 22, 2014, 10:11:39 PM »
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/22/22404705-fetus-of-texas-woman-on-life-support-distinctly-abnormal-family-lawyers-say?lite

And the waiting game played by the hospital has not paid off. All it has done is caused more pain and suffering.

Offline Sabby

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #297 on: January 23, 2014, 05:03:30 AM »
Uhg, the more I find out about this case, the more I seethe at the actions of the hospital. Oh, whats that? The child we are forcing you to bring into the world is going to be deformed? Well tough because LIFE IS SACRED.

Yeah, it's not. It's really not. Life is great, obviously, but every potentiality for life, regardless of it's health and viability needing to be brought into the word because something something sacred? No thanks. Personally, I imagine if I were to be a father, and the doctor said to me and my wife "There's a 50% chance your child won't make it to 2, and if it does, it's going to be severely impaired, but there's no brain activity just yet" Ya know what happens then?

Abort. No hesitation, just end it. And as some have tried to construe this as purity control, no, this isn't my vanity compelling me to not settle for anything less then a 'normal' child, it's my reluctance to force a child to live a short and bleak existence, when it's entirely avoidable, because of some emotionally charged notion that all life is sacred.

Sorry honey, we'll have to try again. I know this is a bad situation, but removing a handful of cells that have a heartbeat is definitely preferable to creating long term, tangible pain and suffering in a sentient being for no friggen reason.

I'm the adult in a partnership in charge of bringing a new life into the world. It's me and my partners responsibility to make sure that life has the best chance possible, and to ignore such blaring warning signs would make me a terrible father and an irresponsible human being.

Offline Kythia

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Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #298 on: January 23, 2014, 06:30:46 AM »
Uhg, the more I find out about this case, the more I seethe at the actions of the hospital. Oh, whats that? The child we are forcing you to bring into the world is going to be deformed? Well tough because LIFE IS SACRED.

That's not quite it, though, is it.  The hospital are claiming that Texas law forces the child.  While its possible that that law came into place because life is sacred, there is a step of removal there.  One would assume that the hospital has its own lawyers and that their advice is what's resulted in this situation.  PR-wise it would certainly be easier for the hospital to remove the machines, though I can certainly respect their decision not to release inflammatory statements in the hope of affecting public opinion regarding an ongoing lawsuit.  I was surprised that was legal, in all honesty.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #299 on: January 24, 2014, 07:29:36 PM »