Human Exceptionalism

The Janet Rivera Case: Medicalized Tyranny

I told you all this was coming, and here it is. A California woman named Janet Rivera, age 46, who we are told is unconscious, has a family who want her to continue to receive food and water. Her husband was even her guardian. But he was removed as guardian and a total stranger–the county coroner no less–was put in his place. And the doctors convinced him that the time had come for Rivera to die.

Why remove Janet’s husband as decider? No abuse was alleged. Apparently he had difficulties with the technicalities. From the story:

Sanger woman Janet Rivera, 46, has been in a coma since she had a heart attack in February 2006. For more than two years, Rivera’s husband, Jesus Rivera, made all of his wife’s medical decisions while Rivera was under the care of the DeWitt Community Subacute Center in Fresno. A judge granted the Fresno County Public Guardian’s Office conservatorship of Janet Rivera in June….The judge said the conservatorship was granted to the Public Guardian’s Office because Jesus Rivera “was not able to see that [Janet Rivera’s Medi-Cal] benefits had lapsed a year ago and was not able to meet with a surgeon about a surgery that needed to be performed.”

Hadden said he could not offer details on why his office took conservatorship of Rivera. But, he said, “The county does not seek this position we’re in.” Hadden said his office reinstated Rivera’s Medi-Cal benefits after it took over conservatorship. But in the meantime, he said, the Riveras racked up a $200,000 hospital bill that has yet to be paid.

When Janet began to breathe on her own, the guardian still refused to put the feeding tube back in. The life support has been restored by court order–temporarily–but who knows how much damage was caused from nearly ten days off of treatment. Also, the reporter alludes to the Terri Schiavo case as being similar. Oh no it’s not. The family is united in their desire for her to live–it’s the doctors who want her to die.

During Schiavo, we were told that only the husband should decide. But when this husband wants his wife to continue on–well family ties apparently have their limits. This smacks of a futile care theory case to me.

Wanna bet the media doesn’t castigate the doctors and the guardian for going against the husband who wants his wife to live as they did the Schindlers when they when against a husband who wanted his wife to die.