Human Exceptionalism

Futile Care: Baby Joseph in Good Condition: Still in Hospital

I received an email from a reader today asking about the current status of Baby Joseph. The last I heard, he had the tracheotomy about a month ago. I decided to check, and here is what I found. From the story:

The child known as Baby Joseph remains at a St. Louis hospital, more than three weeks after receiving a tracheotomy to connect him to a portable breathing machine in an effort to extend his life. Joseph Maraachli has Leigh syndrome, a progressive neurological disorder. He came to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center from Canada, where doctors believed the tracheotomy was futile. He will eventually transfer to Ranken Jordan pediatric hospital in suburban St. Louis before going home. A spokeswoman for Cardinal Glennon told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Joseph is in good condition and the extended stay has nothing to do with any surgical complications.

This surgery was clearly not medically futile, it seems to me. The only reason the Canadian hospital refused it, would be the doctors/bioethicists/administration considered the life he is living as futile, or at least, not worth the money to sustain. But that kind of quality of life judgmentalism should be looked upon as any other form of discrimination.  And in any event, whether a life is worth living should not be a doctor’s call.

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