Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What We've Got Here is Failure of Humility

This is a heartbreaking story.

Erick Munoz wants to see his wife's wish fulfilled this holiday season, but it's one that carries ethical and legal challenges: To be taken off of life support.

Marlise Munoz, 33, is in serious condition in the intensive care unit at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, hospital officials said. She is unconscious and on a ventilator, her husband told CNN affiliate WFAA, but she wouldn't have wanted her life sustained by a machine.

"We talked about it. We're both paramedics," he told WFAA. "We've seen things out in the field. We both knew that we both didn't want to be on life support."

Complicating an already difficult situation is that Munoz is also pregnant, about 18 weeks along, WFAA reported. Texas state law prohibits withdrawing or withholding life-sustaining treatment from a pregnant patient, regardless of her wishes.

There are no simple answers here, but it just seems like common sense that the best people to figure out this situation are the husband, the family, and the doctor. Lawmakers completely disconnected from this family, this situation, should not be dictating what to do. It baffles me how anyone could think otherwise. Humility is definitely common amongst those who seek election to higher office, but it's exactly these sorts of situations where a little humility is called for. While we may have strong opinions on matters, we shouldn't assume that we know what is best for everyone else. One person's answers may be the right ones for themselves, but not necessarily for the next person. This goes for end-of-life decisions, assisted suicide, abortions, and many other very personal decisions. I think we operate best in an environment which allows individuals and their families to decide how to handle these very serious matters.

"There is no respect for others without humility in one's self."
-Henri-Frédéric Amiel

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