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The New Face of Euthanasia

April 26, 2012 2 comments

Hey guys! This is my first official post as your new co-webmaster and we are starting on a high note here. In our focus on euthanasia I am sure many of you are aware of the Rasouli case. For those of you who are not, this case was started by 2 doctors, right in Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, who filed an affidavit because they “saw no medical purpose in keeping Mr. Rasouli on life support” after an infection resulting from surgery for a brain tumour left him in a persistent vegetative state. This case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where many believed it would be a new precedent setting case for euthanasia.  The decision to pull the plug however was opposed by Mr. Rasouli’s family, who long said that they saw improvement in his condition. At this point let me say how disturbing I find this. This is not a case of a person asking themselves for the right to take their own life, or even a family member of a vegetative relative asking someone to pull the plug on their relative, but a doctor, with no consent from anyone, unilaterally making the decision of life and death over another human being. I have always had the greatest respect for doctors and their efforts to save the lives of others, but in my opinion and I think the opinions of many others, this puts a troubling amount of power in their hands. But there is good news to report in this case. It seems that Mr .Rasouli is, although not completely, recovering. An article in the Globe and Mail on Tuesday reported that Mr. Rasouli is able to voluntarily control certain gestures, including the ability to give a thumbs-up gesture to communicate (although not yet completely) with loved ones, answering verbal requests from his wife. Doctors report that, at the moment, Mr. Rasouli is conscious of the world around him and suggest that far from being in a persistent vegetative state, only a step away from brain death, he may be, at least partially, conscious but paralysed. This to me is a reminder of the incredible mystery of the human body and medicine, that we can say that someone will absolutely never get better, and that term persistent vegetative state is always one that you hear connected with that, and then the next day someone is communicating with their thumbs to their wife. Who knows what ways Mr. Rasouli will surprise us all if we give him a chance to heal his body. We simply do not know. However, shockingly, this new development have not caused doctors to stop their calls to pull him from life support, saying that they “remain of the view that the standard of care does not require continuation of mechanical ventilation given his condition.” Now there is no doubt that this is a horrible situation for Mr. Rasouli and his family to be in. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to be paralysed, with almost no way to communicate with my loved ones. The pain and fear would no doubt be unimaginable. However, like all life issues, to me it comes down to the issue of who has the right to make that call? What right do doctors, who have already misdiagnosed him once and admitted that they are as yet unclear about what his prospects are, have to tell him that his life does not have value, that he does not give meaning and hope to his family and loved ones crouched around his hospital bed. What right does any human being have to tell another living, conscious, feeling human being that his existence means less to the world then the bed he is occupying and that they are better off dead?  That’s what it comes down to for me anyway. What do you think my friends? Please comment, whether you are for or against this issue. I would love to talk to others and get their opinions about this issue.

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Tale of the Tape: Dr. Donald Ainslie

UTSFL would first like to thank Dr. Ainslie for being a part of the most spectacular spectacle (does that make sense?) that U of T has ever seen: Debate 2011! Abortion: Human Right or Human Rights Violation? Please mark off March 14, 2011 on your calendar and join us for what promises to be a great night of debating (venue still to be determined by our fearless leader Lucy). Here are the goods on Dr. Donald Ainslie:

Education: BSc (Mathematics, Queen’s), MA, PhD (Pittsburgh)

Associate Professor

Professor Ainslie has research interests in the philosophy of David Hume, naturalism in ethics, and the foundation of bioethics.

Selected Articles

“Hume a Scotish Socrates?”, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 33(1). 2003.
“AIDS and Sex: Is Warning a Moral Obligation?”, Health Care Analysis 10(1). 2002.
“Bioethics And The Problem Of Pluralism”, Social Philosophy and Policy 19(2). 2002.
“Hume’s reflections on the identity and simplicity of mind”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62(3). 2001.
“Scepticism about persons in Book II of Hume’s Treatise”, Journal of the History of Philosophy 37(3). 1999.
“The Problem of the National Self in Hume’s Theory of Justice”, Hume Studies 21(2). 1995.
Tomorrow: Stephanie Gray

Baby Joseph saved from removal of life support

February 21, 2011 4 comments

My friend, Nicole Lau, tipped me off to this story. Baby Joseph, who was to have life support removed today at 10 am (ironic that it is Family Day in Ontario) after being diagnosed with severe neurological issues, has been given more time on his ventilator. Lifesitenews has the story.

One-year-old Joseph Maraachli of Windsor, Ontario, who was to have his life support removed Monday at 10 am. against his parents’ wishes, will now not die on the day that Ontario residents celebrate as Family Day.  A hustle by pro-life and anti-euthanasia groups resulted in a change in legal counsel, which has led to at least a temporary stay of removal of the child’s ventilator……

In a statement released today, London Health Sciences Centre said it has received a request from a Michigan hospital “to review Baby Joseph Maraachli’s medical information regarding the feasibility and appropriateness of a potential patient transfer.”

“Our focus at this time is to work with the family on a patient care plan and to continue to provide compassionate and dignified care and comfort to Baby Joseph,” said the statement.

The Superior Court was no help to the parents either:

But in January, the Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario sided with the hospital, and a date for removing Joseph’s respirator was set.  The family was able to hold it off by filing an appeal with the Superior Court.

Superior Court Justice Helen Rady also sided with the hospital, saying that Joseph is in a permanent vegetative state with no brain stem reflex. However, Joseph’s family members have said that the boy still responds to stimuli.

It is sad that parents have to fight so hard to have their children be with them, even if it will be for a short time. Please do read the rest of the article and join the facebook group in support of Baby Joseph.

Real Stem Cell Research

January 5, 2011 1 comment

Hello again. I came upon this article and it really made me think. We have been hearing for years that embryonic stem cell research, the kind you actually have to kill an unborn child to do, is going to lead to a new world of medical breakthroughs curing all kinds of diseases. Yet time and time again we see that the real breakthroughs are being done by adult stem cell research, where an adult gives cells from their own bodies to help another human being in need. This is a really touching story about a woman who donated stem cells in her eyes so that her sister could see. It was a huge medical breakthrough. No one is against advancing science or saving lives, and this is a great example of doing this without having to go down that dark road of judging how many lives you must end to do it. Kudos to all the people out there who are doing real stem cell research, and have the courage not to sacrifice human life to do so.

Categories: News, Stem Cells Tags:

Another Kind of Graphic Image

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Hi folks, I was just reading the newspaper the other day and I came upon an article about cigarette packages. Apparently the government of Canada has imposed a new line of images on the front of them showing the various heath problems and diseases that can happen when one smokes cigarettes. They include a picture of a man dying of lung cancer, as well as reminders of how smoking can hurt both you and the people around you, as well as showing graphic images of lungs diseased by cancer and other disgusting images showing just how badly smoking can mess up your body. Now whatever your opinion on smoking is, I couldn’t help but compare this to the view that our society has taken to abortion. The government in this case forces cigarette companies to put graphic images of dying and dead people, as well as well as medical pictures of cancerous lungs, on the front of packages. In the case of abortion, a procedure with the actual purpose of killing another human being, people who disagree with it can actually be arrested for displaying graphic images which have been deemed “content disturbing or offensive to some people because of its graphic nature” on their own campus, miles away from the nearest abortion clinic. Or compare for a moment the big red sign on the front of cigarette packages that says “Cigarettes cause cancer” to the numerous medical studies linking abortion to breast cancer that have been unilaterally dismissed as junk science by the medical profession. Once again we see the hypocrisy of a society terrified of being labeled “anti-abortion”. Now, I say this in full knowledge of the fact that graphic images are some of the most controversial in the pro-life movement, and believe it or not I do see both sides of this issue. Many say that they are detracting from the real message and I get that. The most important thing is that we get our views out there, and to do this we need to have conversations with people, not gross them out. That being said, if anyone reading this ever does find themselves in a position where they are using graphic images in a protest and someone asks “How can you show such disgusting things” you might try pointing to the nearest cigarette package and asking them what they are really mad about. Just my opinion.

Parliament too scared of abortion to illegalize coercion

December 18, 2010 1 comment

Well there seems to be one more example of the fact that not only does our government not care about the unborn lives ended by abortion, but also does not care about the women whose lives are scarred by it. In its rush to let women have abortions, on December 15th the parliament of our country once again voted to severely curtail the rights of women. Yesterday the long battle over Roxanne’s Law, a law that would make it illegal to force a woman into getting an abortion against her will, after frequent attempts to table the bill it finally failed with a vote of 178 votes against to 97 for it . There was no party that universally supported this, but there were 2 parties, the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP (whose leader I am ashamed to say represents my riding) which were universally opposed. The law was named after Roxanne Fernando, a young woman from Manitoba who was beaten to death by her boyfriend for refusing to get an abortion. At this point in reading about this, I had to ask what possible reason anyone would have for not supporting this. After all, the foundation of the pro-choice argument is that women have the right to choose. Now flawed as this argument is, surely even they would have to admit that if someone is being forced through the door of an abortion clinic, or worse being murdered by their boyfriend if they don`t, isn’t exactly free choice! Well, our elected officials had a quick answer to that question:

The Prime Minister has always said he wouldn’t support a bill that reopens the abortion debate.”

This is a clear indication of the state of reasoned political discourse in this country on complex moral issues, namely that it terrifies our leaders. We now have a situation where the idea of opening the door to the fact that abortion just might not be as cut and dried as Morgenthaler made it is seem is so terrifying that it has paralyzed people from acting on what should be a easy decision. Apparently they would rather send the message that forcing someone to get an abortion isn’t really coercion under the law. Now there are other arguments that people have given for not voting it down, saying that there are already laws on the books covering coersion, why have this one just because it includes abortion? Well this response by our elected officials in exactly why. Even they are so terrified of talking about abortion that they torpedo a bill which stops illegal coercion! No matter where you go no one is willing to talk about abortion other than to give a sound bite about choice. Meanwhile there are real live people out there who never hear the whole story about the horrors of abortion and are left with only the people around them, many of whom are fueled by there own selfish interests to guide them in this time. Coercion always thrives when no one is willing to debate issues they would rather not think about.

Stand with Carleton

A new website is up for fellow pro-lifers to show their support for the students at Carleton Lifeline:

http://standwithcarleton.com/StandwithCarleton/Home.html

Also, for those interested, here is the legal response of Carleton Lifeline to the CUSA after their decertification as a club.