Sunday, January 5, 2014

When 'life support' is really 'death support'

(CNN) -- Two young females, both brain dead without warning, remain on ventilators while their devastated families challenge the judgments of their hospitals.

In one situation, the family believes a miracle is possible, and wants to prolong the patient's biological functioning. In the other case, the family wants to disconnect the patient to honor her wishes. But both families are facing obstacles.
The way we talk about neurological death has created a misperception, ethicists say: that "brain death" is somehow not as final as cardiac death, even though, by definition, it is.
The term "life support" exacerbates the problem, too, because those who are brain dead do not have a life to sustain, said Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center. This seems to be a fundamental problem in both cases that have entered the national spotlight, he said.
"I think these cases have been botched, horribly," he said. "They're giving the impression that dead people can come back to life."

Full Article and Source:
When 'life support' is really 'death support'


Thelma said...

Unfortunately, in the case of a monor, there can't be any advance directives.

And in the case of a pregnancy, there can be advance directives, but they would be overcome by law.

Betty said...

It's a very complicated issue and I feel for families struggling through it.