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    Monday, September 27, 2004

    Conflicts of Interest: In the wake of the Florida Supreme Court's recent decision in the Schiavo case, the New York Times has an excellent feature story on the conflicts of interest that gather round a death bed, or near-death bed. It's worth reading, if for no other reason than to scare you into making a living will and sharing it with your family members so they don't beat each other up over difficult medical decisions.

    The Schiavo case could have been avoided if Mrs. Schiavo had left a written record of her wishes - or at least shared those wishes with all of her family. She was young, yes, but even young people can have catastrophic accidents.

    CodeBlueBlog has more thoughts on the Schiavo case and euthanasia. My own view is here.

    P.S. And The New York Times > National >this story about a brain-damaged man who not only survived the discontinuation of treatment but began to make remarkable improvement is also worth reading:

    The family conflict became so pitched that a court appointed a guardian, Herbert A. Pickford 3rd, who decided last September that the respirator would be removed. Mr. Pickford said doctors had given different estimates of how long Mr. Childress, 27, would live after the respirator's removal: days, weeks or longer.

    They never predicted that Mr. Childress would come out of his coma and start responding. But he has.

    'I can't believe it,' said Dr. David L. Chesler, the medical director at Mr. Childress's nursing home. 'He's actually saying a few things. He can follow commands. He recognizes people. He's doing things I would have never guessed.'

    Dr. Chesler said Mr. Childress had 'significant permanent brain damage' and would reach a point where he would not improve. But doctors do not know how much more progress he will make and are considering sending him to a rehabilitation hospital for more intense therapy.

    ...."He can write his name, he can play tick-tack-toe, he can put his shirt on," Jerry Childress said. "I've talked to him on the phone. I asked if he was ready to go to work and he said no. I asked him if he was ready to go fishing and he said, 'Say what?'

    We know so little about the injured brain and its capacity to heal. Acting as if we do is just plain hubris.

    posted by Sydney on 9/27/2004 10:52:00 PM 0 comments


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