A panel investigating the near dehydration of 12-year-old Haleigh Poutre, the little girl beaten nearly to death and left with serious brain injuries, have concluded that mistakes were made leading to the court ordering her removed from all life support. To say the least. But how can we expect otherwise when bioethicists and doctors now measure the quality of a patient’s life based on cognitive criteria and judges are often all too willing to see such people as being better off dead?
A classic example of this was the Ron Comeau case, which was the first “food and fluids case about which I ever wrote all the way back in 1994. Post Script: Comeau eventually died in a nursing home of pneumonia. But because he wasn’t dehydrated, he was able to reconnect with his family from which he had been estranged.