Pregnant, brain-dead woman's husband sues hospital - Page 2
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Thread: Pregnant, brain-dead woman's husband sues hospital

  1. #11
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    The machines are not making the baby's heart beat, they are making the dead mother's heart beat.
    Actually they aren't making the mother's heart beat either. Her heart is beating just fine, she just can't breathe on her own, otherwise we wouldn't be having this debate. The baby IS alive, has his own heartbeat, his own brain. So the machine is keeping a child alive that is NOT brain dead or dead in any other way. If the baby was brain dead it likely wouldn't be growing.
    Last edited by GloriaInTX; 01-15-2014 at 05:40 PM.
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    Posting Addict Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    My point is that the machine is not hooked up directly to the baby, it is hooked up to a legally dead person. Therefore, it's not really offering life support to the person it is hooked up to.

    I don't know that it is the case that the baby wouldn't grow if it were brain dead. I don't think the doctors know either. But that is really beside the point. The point is that this woman's husband (who has the legal right to make decisions on her behalf) has expressed his wishes that his wife not be kept hooked up to machines in this scenario and the hospital is ignoring his wishes. They are treating her dead body as an incubator. I think most of the time we agree that people's remains should be treated according to their wishes and the wishes of their family, which is why we don't force organ donation even though it is a huge waste that costs lives. We agree that our bodies are our own, even in death. This hospital has usurped that, and to me it's no different than stealing her organs against her will and justifying it by saying that it would save someone else's life. That's most likely true for every case where viable organs are not donated. Are we or are we not okay with having someone else take them against our wishes?

    Because there is a second life in the balance (the baby's) I do not take as hard of a stance as with this case as I did with the Jahi case. If the roles were reversed and the hospital was trying to take the woman off "life support" and the husband were fighting to keep her on it, because of the baby I would side with the husband. But his decision is clear - he does not want his wife's dead body to be used in this way. I think the hospital should respect that.
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    As an aside, what is the legal definition of dead? In this debate and the other one I have heard people talk about bread dead, but I have always heard it is when the heart stops beating. That definition would form my opinion on both this debate and the other one. To me, If in either debate the person was really and truly dead it would not be an issue. It seems to me that it first must be determined if the person is truly dead. I do not think anyone would be having these discussions about someone who was both brain dead, not breathing, and not have a heart beat.

    ~Bonita~

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    Posting Addict Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Here is an article about brain death.

    Brain Death - Criteria For Brain Death - What Is Brain Death

    She is dead. Her heart is beating for now because we are keeping her on a ventilator, but that is completely artificial. You don't come back from brain death.

    ETA: What I meant to say is that her heart is beating because the ventilator is making her breathe. Without the ventilator causing her body to breathe her heart would die as well from lack of oxygen.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    People are kept on life support all the time to keep their organs alive for donation. Maybe not as long but I don't see how is this any different. If she is an organ donor she is donating her beating heart to keep her own baby alive.
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    Posting Addict Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GloriaInTX View Post
    People are kept on life support all the time to keep their organs alive for donation. Maybe not as long but I don't see how is this any different. If she is an organ donor she is donating her beating heart to keep her own baby alive.
    Not against their family's wishes. If the family says no to organ donation, the hospital respects that. I agree that it's not any different than organ donation, and if it were her husband's wish to keep her body alive for that purpose then the hospital should honor it. But that is not her husband's wish, so they should honor his wishes just as they would for organ donation.
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  7. #17
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    Not against their family's wishes. If the family says no to organ donation, the hospital respects that. I agree that it's not any different than organ donation, and if it were her husband's wish to keep her body alive for that purpose then the hospital should honor it. But that is not her husband's wish, so they should honor his wishes just as they would for organ donation.
    This isn't exactly the same though because here there is no other option for this baby to live. Her not donating her organs doesn't cause another person's death directly as it does in this case. What if it were conjoined twins and one twin was brain dead and the other wasn't? Would it be ok to take the brain dead twin off life support if it would cause the death of the other?
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    Gloria, there is no sense in trying to explain to you why a fetus/mother pair are not the same as conjoined twins because you believe that even a newly fertilized egg is a separate person with seemingly more rights than its mother. Some of us believe the rights of the mother to her own body, and the right of her husband to allow her to finish dying, outweigh the rights of the fetus.
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  9. #19
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Ya it's kind of hard for me to comprehend how the rights of a dead person are more important than the life of a living one. Especially when we don't even know for sure what that choice of the dead person would be.
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  10. #20
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    In this case, I'm going to have to side with the husband. He doesn't want her this way and is stating that she wouldn't want that. They worked in the field and probably talked about this often. Hell, I don't work in the field and my husband knows I would want to be taken off.

    You don't keep someone alive in order to support another. I wouldn't want to be kept alive just to harvest organs if I wasn't an organ donor. No different.

    And yes, by not being an organ donor you are contributing to the death of someone since we don't have enough organs to go around for transplants.
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