Human Exceptionalism

Ron Cranford has Died

Ronald Cranford, the neurologist and bioethicist who made something of a career testifying on behalf of dehydrating the cognitively disabled, has died. He had kidney cancer, and I assume that this was the cause of his death.

I disagreed vehemently with Dr. Cranford. I saw him testify in the Robert Wendland case and his cool recounting of the process of dehydration chilled me to my bones, as did his ready admission that he had removed sustenance from people who were clearly conscious. I actually think that testimony was the primary reason the court refused to allow Wendland’s tube sustenance to be stopped. And his examination of Terri Schiavo seemed conducted in such a hurried way that she would be unlikely to respond.

We met only once at a debate about Terri Schiavo in Florida. We were pleasant and civil to each other. Nothing more.

What is the proper response to the death of someone who has been an implacable adversary? I think it is the response we should have to the death of every human being. We should set those old disputes aside and hope that in the Great Beyond, he finds forgiveness and peace.