To follow up on my earlier post on Pillow Angels, Time Magazine published part two of their Pillow Angel Ethics series on Tuesday, 9 January. This time, we look at Ashley’s case not from the view of science, but ethics and philosophy. A single quote from that article raises a question I dare not answer: “And if rights are inalienable, they exist whether the patient is aware of them or not. “
There was a very thoughtful debate on Stealthbadger.net on this issue and other aspects of the Ashley Treatment, with advocates for all sides behaving with passionate moderation.
Check out the Disability Studies blog from Temple U: a mother with a child much like Ashley weighs in. EdgeCentric points out that the media is skewing things, as usual: A CNN quick poll asks who should have the final say on controversial surgeries on the disabled… and offers only two choices: caregivers or ethicists. Edge-centric very rightly points out that one very important option has been left out: the disabled, themselves. The poll isn’t there anymore, and a search of the site turns up nada for me… any enterprising souls out there want to run it down?
I’ll leave this twist of the knife: do the parents have any rights in these cases? Does their desire to do what they think is best for their disabled children get subsumed by society’s will? What if the doctors had only removed the child’s appendix (which they did in the course of their surgery) because she would never be able to communicate that something was terribly wrong if her appendix burst? Would we be having this debate?