Human Exceptionalism

Will We HEAR the Message? Do Not Dehydrate!

Readers of SHS may recall several months ago I posted on a thwarted dehydration in which doctors and a seriously injured wife had agreed to dehydrate Jesse Ramirez to death because doctors believed he would never gain consciousness. Thank goodness, Ramirez’s parents fought the killing–and lo and behold, Ramirez woke up (not that it should matter).

Well, now he has walked out of the hospital. From the story:

Doctors said he had only a small chance of recovery. His own wife pulled his feeding tube after a week. But Friday, Jesse Ramirez walked out of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, alive and recovering.

It has been an amazing five months for the US postal employee and father of three who was literally at death’s door when he was critically injured in a horrific accident. Jesse and his wife Rebecca were in their SUV when Jesse lost control and crashed into a Chandler pottery store. Rebecca suffered only minor injuries, but Jesse was airlifted to a hospital with a fractured skull and face, punctured lungs and broken ribs. One week after the accident, and following a couple of surgeries, Rebecca Ramirez pulled Jesse out of the hospital and moved him to a Mesa hospice. Rebecca then made the decision to pull his feeding tube and Jesse went six days without food or water.

Six days–and he lives.

This case illustrates how deeply the “quality of life” ethic has permeated medicine–and no doubt to deadly effect. How many Jesse Ramirez’s have died–perhaps horribly–because they had no one willing to defend their lives? That a tube could be pulled one week after injury–long before a firm diagnosis can be made–speaks volumes. Frankly, there should be an investigation. But it will be shrugged off and more people will be dehydrated to death around the country because they are cognitively disabled.

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