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Author Topic: This disturbed me  (Read 8955 times)

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Offline lilhobbit37

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #75 on: January 09, 2014, 09:30:18 PM »
My last response to this and that is that you are ignoring basic biology. That is all I am pointing out I am not weighing on if this should or should not be terminated in this particular news item.  Here is a cut and paste of the basic definition of life that can be found lower down in the link I gave. You will find a fetus displays all of these characteristics.

"Biology
Since there is no unequivocal definition of life, the current understanding is descriptive. Life is considered a characteristic of organisms that exhibit all or most of the following characteristics or traits:[31][33][34]

Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.
Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity, diet, and external factors.
Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.

I don't know whether a fetus has a metabolism or not, but this early on it has none of those others that I have quoted. Which is why it is not viable outside the womb. It is unable to do more of that list than it can do. Other than being made of more than one cell and growing, I'm not sure that a fetus can do any of the rest on it's own. The womb/body of the mother provides all the rest. So I would say arguing the semantics isn't prevalent to this discussion.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #76 on: January 09, 2014, 09:36:38 PM »
My last response to this and that is that you are ignoring basic biology. That is all I am pointing out I am not weighing on if this should or should not be terminated in this particular news item.  Here is a cut and paste of the basic definition of life that can be found lower down in the link I gave. You will find a fetus displays all of these characteristics.

"Biology
Since there is no unequivocal definition of life, the current understanding is descriptive. Life is considered a characteristic of organisms that exhibit all or most of the following characteristics or traits:[31][33][34]

Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.
Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells — the basic units of life.
Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity, diet, and external factors.
Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.
These complex processes, called physiological functions, have underlying physical and chemical bases, as well as signaling and control mechanisms that are essential to maintaining life."

And a parasite is alive. If you read the link I added in my edit you will find viruses are not considered alive, but are considered to be a type of matter that is on the cusp of "life."

EDIT: I want to restate I find no qualm with your argument it is indeed a valid one. What I have an issue with is the use of the term "life" as I said it would be more accurate if you used viable or some similar term.

And here we butt heads. Biology has a definition of "life". Fine.

So let me change my wording. Can the fetus live outside the womb right now? No? It has no rights and thus nature should take it's course. Could it live outside the womb at the time of maternal death? No? It had no rights and thus nature should have been allowed to take it's course.

By my book if it is not capable of sustaining an existence without a host providing for it then it is not capable of life.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #77 on: January 09, 2014, 09:37:19 PM »
Can it survive on it's own right this moment? No? Not viable - not capable of sustaining life. Was it able to survive on it's own at the time the mother died? No? Not viable - not capable of sustaining life. For lack of a better term, a fetus is a parasite and it needs a host in order to form to the point of being able to exist (live) on it's own. Thus, at this stage, I do not see the fetus as being alive. (and before you ask - yes, I am a mother. I've had four children. I still say if it cannot survive on it's own outside of the womb, it is not alive.)

Wait, that right there, that's a contradiction! You're saying that a parasite is not alive because it can't survive on it's own. There's plenty of parasites every bit as dependent on host organisms as the fetus is on the mother, and I'm not just talking bacterial life here, but all the manner of multicellular life, microbes, and I bet I could scare up a few insects and arthropods if you gave me enough time.

Look for me, it's not a question of when life begins; I don't think that even factors into it. For me it's the matter of what makes ending life wrong in any given case: The cessation of potential for that life to accomplish good in this world. That applies as equally to murder in the 1st to abortion to self defense to enemy combatants in a time of war. The point is that while under this definition, all of those cases are equally 'morally' wrong, society collapse if we treated them as equally punishable under the law. In short, what is ethically right is between a person and their philosophy, how we deal with it in in real life is a matter of practicality.

In this case, it strikes me as eminently more practical to keep the mother on life support for a few extra months while we give the fetus a chance at 'proper' life, rather than comply with the next of kin's interpretation of what she may or may not have wanted (in lieu of a written will).

Offline Retribution

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Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #78 on: January 09, 2014, 09:46:08 PM »
Really? Let me go through these one at a time since as I pointed out slime mold meets this definition.

Homeostasis -> I am assuming the fetus is still maintaining internal fluid balance and the like or well it would be dead and I would not see why they are leaving the woman on life support.


Metabolism -> in this case through an umbilical cord but the cells would not be growing if it was not metabolizing energy.

Adaptation -. In this case it would be called birth via c-section or whatever.

Response to stimuli -> Fetuses do indeed respond to stimuli. For example when doing sonograms one of the ways they get a better look is to hold a noise maker up to mom's tummy so the fetus moves.

Reproduction -> germ cells are one of the first cells that divide off of the blastula (one the cells have formed a little ball) you can trace through embryology (A brutal course by the way). Assuming this fetus will one day make a boy or a girl it will unless sterile for whatever reason be able to reproduce.

Also note the first sentence "organisms that exhibit all or most" means that all of these do not have to be exhibited. Again I can, and do see and understand the arguments for terminating this pregnancy, unplugging the woman whatever you wish to call it. Just use the right term such as "viable" or some other similar term do not re-write science.

Offline lilhobbit37

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #79 on: January 09, 2014, 09:51:23 PM »
Really? Let me go through these one at a time since as I pointed out slime mold meets this definition.

Homeostasis -> I am assuming the fetus is still maintaining internal fluid balance and the like or well it would be dead and I would not see why they are leaving the woman on life support.


Metabolism -> in this case through an umbilical cord but the cells would not be growing if it was not metabolizing energy.

Adaptation -. In this case it would be called birth via c-section or whatever.

Response to stimuli -> Fetuses do indeed respond to stimuli. For example when doing sonograms one of the ways they get a better look is to hold a noise maker up to mom's tummy so the fetus moves.

Reproduction -> germ cells are one of the first cells that divide off of the blastula (one the cells have formed a little ball) you can trace through embryology (A brutal course by the way). Assuming this fetus will one day make a boy or a girl it will unless sterile for whatever reason be able to reproduce.

Also note the first sentence "organisms that exhibit all or most" means that all of these do not have to be exhibited. Again I can, and do see and understand the arguments for terminating this pregnancy, unplugging the woman whatever you wish to call it. Just use the right term such as "viable" or some other similar term do not re-write science.

Adaptation by c-section doesn't count. The fetus isn't adapting, technology is.

Response to stimuli only comes after a certain point. This fetus is still not even at that stage from my understanding. It also wouldn't "kick" in it's mother's womb. It isn't developed enough yet.

And to say it eventually will be able to make babies unless sterile, we are not arguing that if it grows it will not become alive, we are arguing it can not at this moment. Which is what we are using your definition for.

But my overall point is that even scientists have not determined at what point a fetus fits the "alive" definition, so it has no place in this debate, and you coming in and getting mad that people are using the term alive alongside viable, while trying to protest that you are not taking part in the debate seems silly. If you have no opinion you wish to state in the debate that is fine, but it seems rude to just come in to argue semantics that even scientists are still debating.

That is a separate debate and if you really wish to debate it, I'd recommend starting a separate thread rather than veering this one further off course.

Offline Retribution

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Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #80 on: January 09, 2014, 09:53:13 PM »

So let me change my wording. Can the fetus live outside the womb right now? No? It has no rights and thus nature should take it's course. Could it live outside the womb at the time of maternal death? No? It had no rights and thus nature should have been allowed to take it's course.


I have no issue with that argument. Like I keep saying it is a moral quagmire I simply do not dip my toes into because well no one died and made me god. I just do not like twisting of the biological definition of the term life. I spent too many freaking hours back in college making sure I could answer those questions on exams and lets not even go into my senior thesis.

Offline DemonessOfDeathValleyTopic starter

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Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #81 on: January 09, 2014, 10:07:25 PM »
Ok, honestly, your views clash with the law.

I want to make this clear. I am not in any way saying that my views don't clash with the law. The real thing on that being they are MY views. Which are my personal thoughts and feelings on a case that I found disturbing. I was merely stating my own views on the matter. I do apologize if the way I articulated it, it seemed different.

Chaoslord, once again, I agree with you. If the woman is dead and someone is going to consider her a corpse, then what is the problem with allowing a fetus, a living organism as Retribution pointed out, to have some kind of chance? Since the state is the one that is keeping the woman on life support, I would think they are the one that is paying for this. However, if they aren't, I don't think it's fair to expect the family to pay for this at all. That would not be right, since they oppose the woman being on life support.

Something has occurred to me. There seems to be a divided stance on morals/ethics and what the law states. On the one hand, there is the possible moral or ethical boundary that some (me included) feel would be crossed if the woman is taken off of life support and the fetus dies. Then there is the legal standpoint of not observing what the next of kin has stated were this woman's wishes and the law in Texas that has made this woman remain on life support.

In this case, it strikes me as eminently more practical to keep the mother on life support for a few extra months while we give the fetus a chance at 'proper' life, rather than comply with the next of kin's interpretation of what she may or may not have wanted (in lieu of a written will).
[/quote

I have to agree with that whole heartedly. Especially with the indication that there wasn't anything in writing.

Offline lilhobbit37

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #82 on: January 09, 2014, 10:14:19 PM »
I want to make this clear. I am not in any way saying that my views don't clash with the law. The real thing on that being they are MY views. Which are my personal thoughts and feelings on a case that I found disturbing. I was merely stating my own views on the matter. I do apologize if the way I articulated it, it seemed different.

Chaoslord, once again, I agree with you. If the woman is dead and someone is going to consider her a corpse, then what is the problem with allowing a fetus, a living organism as Retribution pointed out, to have some kind of chance? Since the state is the one that is keeping the woman on life support, I would think they are the one that is paying for this. However, if they aren't, I don't think it's fair to expect the family to pay for this at all. That would not be right, since they oppose the woman being on life support.

Something has occurred to me. There seems to be a divided stance on morals/ethics and what the law states. On the one hand, there is the possible moral or ethical boundary that some (me included) feel would be crossed if the woman is taken off of life support and the fetus dies. Then there is the legal standpoint of not observing what the next of kin has stated were this woman's wishes and the law in Texas that has made this woman remain on life support.

In this case, it strikes me as eminently more practical to keep the mother on life support for a few extra months while we give the fetus a chance at 'proper' life, rather than comply with the next of kin's interpretation of what she may or may not have wanted (in lieu of a written will).

I have to agree with that whole heartedly. Especially with the indication that there wasn't anything in writing.

Ok, as someone who has had a loved one declared brain dead on life support, let me try to explain this from a different angle.

My cousin was declared brain dead. He was taken off life support. He DID allow his organs to be donated, and so they were.

But according to you and chaos (and possibly others), if there was someone who needed his heart, well he is dead anyways, and his heart could save that persons life, so even though he did not wish to give his heart, it is for the greater good, and he's dead afterall, so who really cares what he wanted?

Trust me, if it was your loved one, it wouldn't be so easy to say it was just a corpse. It was this woman's wish to never be left on life support. Written or no, the hospital is going to force her to remain on it.

Is she dead? Technically. Is she just some corpse that can be used however others see fit for the "greater good"?

NO. She simply isn't. Just because she has died does not mean that her corpse may be used however others see fit.

My aunt still struggles every day with the death of her son. I can't imagine the pain this woman's parents and husband are going through, and they know that her wishes are being denied. Simply because of a fetus that this woman didn't even know was inside of her.

A fetus that is as alive as her heart and lungs which a machine keeps alive. The fetus is on life support as much as the mother. It is not viable. It can not sustain life on it's own or even with hospital care. It can only survive by this woman who has been declared dead.

And she wishes to be allowed to pass away rather than sustain life simply via machine. It was her right to make that decision and should not be allowed to be taken away by anyone else, especially strangers who have no place determining what is best for her and her family.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #83 on: January 09, 2014, 10:45:33 PM »
I have to agree with that whole heartedly. Especially with the indication that there wasn't anything in writing.


Ok, as someone who has had a loved one declared brain dead on life support, let me try to explain this from a different angle.

My cousin was declared brain dead. He was taken off life support. He DID allow his organs to be donated, and so they were.

But according to you and chaos (and possibly others), if there was someone who needed his heart, well he is dead anyways, and his heart could save that persons life, so even though he did not wish to give his heart, it is for the greater good, and he's dead afterall, so who really cares what he wanted?

Trust me, if it was your loved one, it wouldn't be so easy to say it was just a corpse. It was this woman's wish to never be left on life support. Written or no, the hospital is going to force her to remain on it.

Is she dead? Technically. Is she just some corpse that can be used however others see fit for the "greater good"?

NO. She simply isn't. Just because she has died does not mean that her corpse may be used however others see fit.

My aunt still struggles every day with the death of her son. I can't imagine the pain this woman's parents and husband are going through, and they know that her wishes are being denied. Simply because of a fetus that this woman didn't even know was inside of her.

A fetus that is as alive as her heart and lungs which a machine keeps alive. The fetus is on life support as much as the mother. It is not viable. It can not sustain life on it's own or even with hospital care. It can only survive by this woman who has been declared dead.

And she wishes to be allowed to pass away rather than sustain life simply via machine. It was her right to make that decision and should not be allowed to be taken away by anyone else, especially strangers who have no place determining what is best for her and her family.

That's fair to say lilhobbit37, as someone who has gone through the trying experience of having to deal with a loved one on lifesupport. I'm certainly not going to sit in judgement or call for all corpses to be organ donors.

My arguments were an attempt to point out the contradiction in Iniquitous Opheliac's claims:
A) The fetus can't survive on it's own therefore it's not alive and doesn't have rights.
B) The woman is brain dead and therefore her and her family's rights should be honored.

See, the woman in question can no more survive without the hospital apparatus than the fetus can survive without her. How can you say one has rights when the other didn't? Aren't they both by her definition, not alive?

I won't know if I would make the same decision as her family until I'm faced with the choice myself (I hope I never will be), but the whole point of any given set of laws is that strangers can in fact tell you what to do for the sake of others and good of the many. That's what governance is: other people telling you what you can and can't do because not everyone knows all the time what's best for themselves and everyone else. I'm not a strict utilitarian, I don't absolutely uphold the needs of the many over the rights of the few always in all circumstances, but in this case, that fetus might have an entire lifetime ahead of it, and the family's grief is only prolonged by a matter of months (assuming the fetus is still alive then and in fact viable). What's a couple of months weighed against the potential of an entire lifetime?

Specific to this case also is the idea of prioritizing the family's beliefs about what their daughter would have wished, and what will give them closure, over the beliefs of others about the sanctity of life. To be clear, I personally don't believe in the sanctity of life at conception, but given that the family's wishes are established on little more than personal grief and emotional ties to what their daughter/wife was in life, and not a hard foundation in science, how are we supposed to prioritize one set of beliefs ahead of the other?

Offline lilhobbit37

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #84 on: January 09, 2014, 11:00:22 PM »
That's fair to say lilhobbit37, as someone who has gone through the trying experience of having to deal with a loved one on lifesupport. I'm certainly not going to sit in judgement or call for all corpses to be organ donors.

But that is exactly what you are saying. That if it will save another life, then the wishes of someone brain-dead should no longer matter. That because the fetus may live, this woman's desire to not remain on life support should be null and void.

The law is basically saying that one person's rights are more important than another's. Because of a fetus that can't survive outside of the womb. You are saying that the fetus is more important than the mother. The mother is dead and wishes to be dead, not to exist at the mercy of a machine. The fetus is not suffering any more than the mother, and if her wishes are granted, it will feel no more pain than the mother did. So how is that wrong if it is what the mother, father, and parent's all agree is the wishes and right of the person?

Offline chaoslord29

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #85 on: January 09, 2014, 11:26:36 PM »
But that is exactly what you are saying. That if it will save another life, then the wishes of someone brain-dead should no longer matter. That because the fetus may live, this woman's desire to not remain on life support should be null and void.

The law is basically saying that one person's rights are more important than another's. Because of a fetus that can't survive outside of the womb. You are saying that the fetus is more important than the mother. The mother is dead and wishes to be dead, not to exist at the mercy of a machine. The fetus is not suffering any more than the mother, and if her wishes are granted, it will feel no more pain than the mother did. So how is that wrong if it is what the mother, father, and parent's all agree is the wishes and right of the person?

So this woman's (post-mortum) desire to die trumps the fetus's potential for life? Something about  that doesn't strike you as odd?

You're right though that the law is saying one set of rights trumps another in this case, but that's true of lots of cases beyond just abortion. If the woman is dead, I'm saying that her ability to exercise her rights does not take precedence over the fetus's opportunity to potentially exercise its own. The fetus has an opportunity to live, whereas the mother's chance to do so is undeniably at an end, if no one suffers (physically) in allowing the fetus to be brought to term, where is the harm?

As to the wishes of the family . . . It's cold, but I don't see how their wishes in regards to the disposal of the woman's corpse trump the potential to bring new life into the world. Now here is where things get hazy legally however, as a corpse is technically the property of the next-of-kin, to be disposed of at their leisure. However, given that the fetus has what I think constitutes a vested interest in the corpse being kept on life-support for the time being, that doesn't seem like too much to ask to me, of the family. If forced to confront them myself, and required to be a perfectly cold-hearted bastard, I would ask them to retain perspective, as there are plenty of other families and relatives who will never have the chance to bury bodies, and never even know the fate of their loved ones.

I'll ask again, as objectively as possible, what is the temporary, intangible suffering of this family weighed against the potential for the fetus to live?

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #86 on: January 09, 2014, 11:32:29 PM »
Once CPR has begun there is no stopping what goes on afterward.  Compressions are started, an ambubag is placed to the mouth to pump in air and if one is available a defibrillator is placed on the patient to monitor rhythm and pulse.  A shock may be delivered if the rhythm requires it and if the appropriate setting is reached there will be the administration of various IV medications to help the heart along.  At some point an anesthesiologist will intubate the patient by inserting a tube past the lips and down into the lungs where by a ventilator will be used to keep the person breathing.  Life support is essentially a ventilator with possibly some other medication thrown into the mix for good measure.  This all can take a matter of minutes since from start to finish a medical team has 10 minutes to prevent brain damage.

So no, there is no stopping point between resuscitation and life support unless the patient is revived beforehand or so after.  As a paramedic she would have known the importance of having her family stop resuscitation as soon as things started.  The husband found her, the husband called for assistance, the husband (knowing her wishes) refused to stop CPR and later steps from being performed.  His time to prevent this was at the start, not down the road.

As for the diagnosis issue...

“Ms. Labbe said that neither she nor the doctors could answer questions about Mrs. Munoz’s condition because her husband had not signed the paperwork allowing them to speak to the news media about his wife’s care.”

“Caplan pointed out that it's not certain if this patient is brain dead -- as is the case for the high profile controversy over Jahi McMath, whose family is suing to keep her on a ventilator despite being declared brain dead after complications from tonsil surgery -- or seriously incapacitated, but he's not sure if that should make a difference in this case.”

The family is the one saying they were told she is brain dead, not the hospital or any spokesperson of the hospital.

As for turning off the machines as soon as the diagnosis came down, that is a serious issue that requires confirmation by all parties involved.  The equipment was used and the patient placed on life support without protest by the patient family members.  Removing the equipment is not a simple matter of a doctor going, “welp she’s dead and the nurse thinks she heard the husband say if she’s brain dead then pull the plug.”

Also the person in that bed is not a corpse until the machines are removed and care is no longer being provided by medical professionals.  There is a reason we declare death by setting a stethoscope to the chest of the patient rather than calling for an EEG to be done.  She is not a corpse and is still a patient, just as much as Jahi McMath is still someone’s patient to care and attend to throughout their stay. 

Why is her wish to have a child overruled by her desire to not be kept on life support for an extended period of time ?  Because the family won’t have their closure fast enough?  So her wishes are not honored for their own sake, but simply so someone else feels better about her death?  She wanted to give birth to this child and there is the possibility she will be able to and then the machines will be turned off to honor her other wish.  One does not necessarily stop the other.

Also the family does not get to decide whether the woman keeps or gives birth to a child, the mother does.  The mother, the last anyone spoke to her, voiced that she wanted to have the child.  So her last wish was to have the child she is carrying, therefore the family has no say to interfere with that fact.

Offline DemonessOfDeathValleyTopic starter

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Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #87 on: January 09, 2014, 11:45:57 PM »
I'm not going to reveal my views on organ donation. In my personal opinion a fetus is different from an organ. Because of my faith, I see a fetus as a 'life'. And as such, I will keep to this being about a fetus.

I too watched someone on life support. My mother was not on full life support, no. But she was on partial life support. A hole had to finally be cut in her throat so that she could be on a ventilator. Because her heart had stopped once, it was thought that her altered brain function was the result of a stroke. The doctor couldn't or wouldn't tell me if she had indeed suffered a stroke. Over the next months I was told that there would never be any chance of her recovering, barring a miracle. Her body was eaten up with infection, her blood sugar couldn't be regulated and the only way she could eat was through a feeding tube. She couldn't move anything but her fingers and she could only partially communicate by blinking her eyes. My mother didn't have a living will because she never 'got around to it'. She did communicate her wishes to me and I went by them when I finally signed a DNR, but that was only after her doctor told me that her body was slowly dying.

I realize that my mother was not in the same condition. I also realize that she was not pregnant. (She was 57). I can't say what I would do or not do if she had been pregnant. Since I  was not put into that situation.

All in all, I don't think that the woman should be taken off of life support. And barring the discovery of a document telling her wishes or the findings that the fetus will be severely impaired, I don't see myself changing my mind.

My views and opinions are just that. Because this isn't happening to me or anybody in my family, thankfully. My heart goes out to the woman and her fetus and also her family because they are having to go through it. I hope that in the end that this woman can be put to rest and that her family can find peace.

Added: Pumpkin Seeds and Chaoslord, once again, I agree with the two of you. What is the harm in letting the woman's fetus be brought to term and why do the pre - mortem decisions trump the fetus' possible right to a chance at life?

Offline chaoslord29

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #88 on: January 09, 2014, 11:53:29 PM »
Quite a few of you in the opposing camps seem to keep ignoring a few pertinent bits, namely that their is no official ruling on whether or not she is brain dead, that's just the last thing the parents think they heard. Furthermore, there is nothing but hearsay to indicate the woman's own wishes in regards to termination of life support or termination of her pregnancy. The last her parents, husband, or other parties close to her heard she wanted to be taken off life support, but also wanted to have the child. Seeing as those two priorities are now in opposition, I think the one where at least one of them gets to live takes priority.

Offline lilhobbit37

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #89 on: January 09, 2014, 11:57:02 PM »
Not ignoring. Because it has been stated already that according to the law, it wouldn't matter regardless, whether or not she had a living will WRITTEN or whether or not she WAS brain dead.

We are debating the law not just this specific case.

And according to the law it does not matter what was written nor does it matter if she was indeed diagnosed as brain dead.

According to the law, all that matters is that there is a fetus, and therefore the hospital and doctors now have full control of her body and what happens to it. And would be the case no matter the patient, regardless of written will.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #90 on: January 09, 2014, 11:59:35 PM »
Well, actually she would not have had to write down her wishes to avoid this situation.  Her husband would simply have had to voice her wishes to the paramedics.  The law states the removal of life support, not the application.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #91 on: January 10, 2014, 12:20:23 AM »
Not ignoring. Because it has been stated already that according to the law, it wouldn't matter regardless, whether or not she had a living will WRITTEN or whether or not she WAS brain dead.

We are debating the law not just this specific case.

And according to the law it does not matter what was written nor does it matter if she was indeed diagnosed as brain dead.

According to the law, all that matters is that there is a fetus, and therefore the hospital and doctors now have full control of her body and what happens to it. And would be the case no matter the patient, regardless of written will.
Ah, well if what you're arguing is whether the law is just, then let me come out and say it. "No, I don't think so. People should be allowed to refuse life-saving or preserving treatment, even if they're pregnant."

I was arguing specifically, this case, though I can't speak for everyone else. It seems to me though that we were definitely discussing the specifics of this case with at least a few of the opposing camp.

So what are your thoughts on this specific case lilhobbit37? Seeing as their is no living will, and hearsay evidence supporting both her desire to have life support terminated, and her desire to carry the child to term, does the fetuses potential for life trump the parent's desire to see their daughter's body dead and buried?

Offline lilhobbit37

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #92 on: January 10, 2014, 12:51:28 AM »
Law-wise I can't argue this specific case because as has been pointed out, there isn't enough information to know for sure whether or not there was a will and whether or not she is brain-dead.

My personal feelings on the matter is that her choice trumps the fetus. She made her wishes clear and they are directly being violated. The fetus is not viable and in my personal opinion not yet a person. It will be another month before it is even considered enough of a life form for them to decide what to do. At this point, they have made a human being into an incubator for something that is not able to sustain life on it's own, and to me, the line is drawn in the sand and too many people are jumping to the wrong side.

But that is my personal opinion. I'm trying to stick to debating the law and the rights or wrongs of it more than just state my opinion on one personal case. Because like it or not, she will remain on life support because the law says so. And to me, the law is what needs to be debated not the case itself.

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Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #93 on: January 10, 2014, 01:07:30 AM »
I think Pumpkin Seeds just stated what I was trying in my own rambling and strange way to say. This law is talking about the removal of life support not the application. If this woman was so adamant about not being on life support then her husband should have never allowed her to be placed on it, pregnant or not. And in the article I provided, I interpreted it to mean that she was found to be pregnant after life support had already been applied.

This case has disturbed me to say the least and I don't think I'll ever really know what I feel is 'right' in a situation such as this.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #94 on: January 10, 2014, 08:02:42 AM »
At the end of the day, I would say the law should be repealed.  Ethics boards and committees at hospitals are established to handle such procedures.  As such the ethics committees could handle this on a case by case basis since I doubt this is a regular situation.  Just the amount of debate stirred up in this conversation should show how difficult and complex these choices can be.  So creating a sweeping law to apply to these individual and unique situations does not seem in the best interest of women, the fetus or the family.

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Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #95 on: January 10, 2014, 08:14:05 AM »
Agreed.  The state legislature is a bit too far removed to be making these kinds of decisions.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #96 on: January 10, 2014, 10:12:42 AM »
At the end of the day, I would say the law should be repealed.  Ethics boards and committees at hospitals are established to handle such procedures.  As such the ethics committees could handle this on a case by case basis since I doubt this is a regular situation.  Just the amount of debate stirred up in this conversation should show how difficult and complex these choices can be.  So creating a sweeping law to apply to these individual and unique situations does not seem in the best interest of women, the fetus or the family.

I suppose the only risk run in this case are the kinds of people you're going to find on an ethics board in a (Catholic?) Texas Hospital, but I'm definitely of a mind that this is better dealt with on a case by case basis, so as to individually account for the wishes of the family in any given circumstance.

That said, I can say that if I were on the ethics board, I would be for keeping her on life support, whatever other pro-choice leanings I would have in any other case.

Offline IStateYourName

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #97 on: January 10, 2014, 10:34:43 AM »
So this woman's (post-mortum) desire to die trumps the fetus's potential for life? Something about  that doesn't strike you as odd?

You're right though that the law is saying one set of rights trumps another in this case, but that's true of lots of cases beyond just abortion. If the woman is dead, I'm saying that her ability to exercise her rights does not take precedence over the fetus's opportunity to potentially exercise its own. The fetus has an opportunity to live, whereas the mother's chance to do so is undeniably at an end, if no one suffers (physically) in allowing the fetus to be brought to term, where is the harm?

As to the wishes of the family . . . It's cold, but I don't see how their wishes in regards to the disposal of the woman's corpse trump the potential to bring new life into the world. Now here is where things get hazy legally however, as a corpse is technically the property of the next-of-kin, to be disposed of at their leisure. However, given that the fetus has what I think constitutes a vested interest in the corpse being kept on life-support for the time being, that doesn't seem like too much to ask to me, of the family. If forced to confront them myself, and required to be a perfectly cold-hearted bastard, I would ask them to retain perspective, as there are plenty of other families and relatives who will never have the chance to bury bodies, and never even know the fate of their loved ones.

I'll ask again, as objectively as possible, what is the temporary, intangible suffering of this family weighed against the potential for the fetus to live?

That's your opinion. 

You're entitled to it.  You're entitled to state in a living will that you want to be kept alive by machines for as long as is medically possible.  You're entitled to use your right of free speech to persuade others to freely select that same option, to try and "sell" your perspective in the "public square" of unfettered discourse.

What you're not entitled to do (and I'm certainly not saying you did this, ChaosLord, but obviously someone in the state of Texas did) is to go to the State and have your opinion forced on others at gunpoint.  This woman's rights, and her family's rights, are being violated right now.  The State should have no say in this.  Nor should activists of any political stripe, Left, Right or Center.  Nor should we.  This woman's body is private property.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #98 on: January 10, 2014, 11:48:53 AM »
That's your opinion. 

You're entitled to it.  You're entitled to state in a living will that you want to be kept alive by machines for as long as is medically possible.  You're entitled to use your right of free speech to persuade others to freely select that same option, to try and "sell" your perspective in the "public square" of unfettered discourse.

What you're not entitled to do (and I'm certainly not saying you did this, ChaosLord, but obviously someone in the state of Texas did) is to go to the State and have your opinion forced on others at gunpoint.  This woman's rights, and her family's rights, are being violated right now.  The State should have no say in this.  Nor should activists of any political stripe, Left, Right or Center.  Nor should we.  This woman's body is private property.

I'm all for a person's sovereignty over their own body while alive, but in death, a corpse is considered the property of the next of kin, and the law has more room to dictate what you can do even with your property (you can't use a gun that you own to shoot wherever and whoever you please, etc.). Seeing as Mrs. Munoz is in something of a nebulous state between life and death, I don't see it as quite the black and white issue about whose wishes take precedence here, especially when what her own wishes would be are equally nebulous.

There is no living will, and hearsay evidence from friends and family indicate both a desire not to remain on life support (for an extended period of time, which raises the question of what is 'extended') but also to carry the child she was pregnant with to term. We can't establish precisely what her own wishes would be in this situation, and thus I don't think it's entirely up to the next of kin to decide what's to be done when there's potentially another party with a stake in this matter.

See, if they honor the family's wishes, then both mother and fetus will die, and what do they get out of the situation? The potential for less grief in the short run?

Whereas if we keep her alive for that extra amount of time, there's the chance that the fetus may very well develop into a happy, healthy functional member of society. Meanwhile the family may very well get over the fact that their daughter is still very much dead (or will be soon) and begin (or move on from) the grieving process anyway. Either way their emotional suffering is intangible. The potential for human life represented by the fetus is tangible.

See, I'm not trying to force my opinion on anyone, I'm trying to use logic and reason to arrive at a solution to a tangled mess of ethical and legal custom which most benefits the given parties involved. Seeing as I'm not a public official in Texas (that you know ;) ) my arguments may not make a huge difference in the application of the law, but point is that said application of the law is not necessarily just someone forcing their opinion on someone else.

Even if it is, what is the family's wishes as to the disposal of their daughter's body but their opinion on what's best for them in the matter? The point of the law is that it intervenes where opinions between individuals come into conflict and attempts to mediate between them. Were I in a position to mediate in this case, it seems clear to me that their is a logical solution which in the long run gets both parties what they want. If the hospital waits to disconnect life support for the matter of months that it will take for the fetus to either die or be delivered, then the fetus has an even chance at life, and in less than a year the family will still get a corpse to bury.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 11:49:58 AM by chaoslord29 »

Offline vtboy

Re: This disturbed me
« Reply #99 on: January 10, 2014, 01:59:11 PM »
I'm all for a person's sovereignty over their own body while alive, but in death, a corpse is considered the property of the next of kin, and the law has more room to dictate what you can do even with your property (you can't use a gun that you own to shoot wherever and whoever you please, etc.). Seeing as Mrs. Munoz is in something of a nebulous state between life and death, I don't see it as quite the black and white issue about whose wishes take precedence here, especially when what her own wishes would be are equally nebulous.

There is no living will, and hearsay evidence from friends and family indicate both a desire not to remain on life support (for an extended period of time, which raises the question of what is 'extended') but also to carry the child she was pregnant with to term. We can't establish precisely what her own wishes would be in this situation, and thus I don't think it's entirely up to the next of kin to decide what's to be done when there's potentially another party with a stake in this matter.

See, if they honor the family's wishes, then both mother and fetus will die, and what do they get out of the situation? The potential for less grief in the short run?

Whereas if we keep her alive for that extra amount of time, there's the chance that the fetus may very well develop into a happy, healthy functional member of society. Meanwhile the family may very well get over the fact that their daughter is still very much dead (or will be soon) and begin (or move on from) the grieving process anyway. Either way their emotional suffering is intangible. The potential for human life represented by the fetus is tangible.

See, I'm not trying to force my opinion on anyone, I'm trying to use logic and reason to arrive at a solution to a tangled mess of ethical and legal custom which most benefits the given parties involved. Seeing as I'm not a public official in Texas (that you know ;) ) my arguments may not make a huge difference in the application of the law, but point is that said application of the law is not necessarily just someone forcing their opinion on someone else.

Even if it is, what is the family's wishes as to the disposal of their daughter's body but their opinion on what's best for them in the matter? The point of the law is that it intervenes where opinions between individuals come into conflict and attempts to mediate between them. Were I in a position to mediate in this case, it seems clear to me that their is a logical solution which in the long run gets both parties what they want. If the hospital waits to disconnect life support for the matter of months that it will take for the fetus to either die or be delivered, then the fetus has an even chance at life, and in less than a year the family will still get a corpse to bury.

Since the woman is dead, her pre-mortem preferences don't matter, except to the extent the living want to respect them. The question, as I see it, is whether her pregnancy should permit the state to veto what we must otherwise assume would be the right of her husband (or other close family members) to insist the rest of this poor woman's organs die along with her brain. The proper balancing of interests is obviously different from that implicated by abortion, since the woman no longer has a cognizable interest in controlling her body (at least not one an ostensibly secular government may recognize). 

While the state may not prefer potential life over a woman's preference to terminate her pregnancy (at least during the first two trimesters), it may prefer potential life over the emotional suffering a decedent's family will endure if not permitted to honor what it understood were her wishes. However, there are other interests at play here, also significant, if perhaps somewhat more prosaic. The husband may not feel equipped, either emotionally or economically, to raise the child (a second one) alone, especially if there is a significant possibility it will be born profoundly disabled. The other family members may also be unwilling to take up the burden. There is already an abundance of unwanted children in the world. Medical services and hospital care are expensive, and often beyond the means of fully formed human beings who need them. Should they be employed to bring an apparently unwanted (and at this point speculative) child into the world? If the state demands preservation of the fetus in contravention of the wishes of the family, will it raise the child?

Though the issue is obviously complicated, the solution need not be. In the absence of a written directive from the deceased, the decision should be left to her closest family members. Here, they seem to be unanimous about pulling the plug. 
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 02:00:58 PM by vtboy »