By Wesley J. Smith
This is how far the culture of death has come.
I reported earlier about the controversy in Canada in which a family wants a nursing home to stop spoon feeding their mother because she would not want to be kept alive with Alzheimer’s. But no one has the right to be starved. They have the right to refuse medical treatment–for example when sustenance has to be provided by tube. But “artificial nutrition and hydration” may be medical treatment under the law–I would prefer it weren’t–but spoon feeding is humane care that should never be denied.
But don’t tell that to the family. They are suing because a nursing home refuses to starve their mother to death! From the Leader-Post story:
“The actions of Abbotsford nursing home staff who are spoon-feeding an 82-year-old Alzheimer’s patient — contrary to the wishes she expressed in her living will — constitute battery, a lawsuit by her daughter and husband alleges. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court against Fraser Health, the nursing home and the provincial government, is expected to be precedent-setting as it should clarify end-of-life rights of patients and the obligations of health providers.”
So, if a person wrote in their advance directive that they don’t want to be kept warm, should they be denied blankets? If they said they don’t want turning so they get bed sores and die sooner, should that be done? Or is the right to be made dead now sacrosanct?
If the family wins this case, the right to refuse medical treatment will become the right to be neglected to death. And what will happen to the nursing and medical professions if they are required to deny people the basics of life until death? Can you imagine the number of people that will quit the sector?
We don’t–and shouldn’t–have a right to force health care workers to make us dead. And we sure shouldn’t be able to order others to starve us when we willingly eat. Color me utterly disgusted.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s blog.