Human Exceptionalism

Haleigh Poutre Purportedly Eating Eggs

If doctors and bioethicists had gotten their way, little Haleigh Poutre would have been dehydrated to death via removal of feeding tube. But now, according to this story, she may be eating eggs. How unsurprising that the national media has generally ignored the case: It would demonstrate vividly the danger of writing off the cognitively devastated and “honoring” their “right to die” via intentional dehydration.

Another point made by Haleigh’s natural mother in the story is worth pondering. (I have seen the same tactic applied in the Martin, Wendland, and Schiavo cases.) The patient is hidden behind closed doors to “protect privacy.” But this seems a tactic to hide their humanity. For example, in the Wendland case the hospital kept insisting that he was as good as unconscious. Then, a local television station was able to obtain a video of him taking out and removing pegs upon request. The response of Lodi Memorial Hospital to this clear busting of their disingenuous PR campaign: Seek a gag order.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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