I never, NEVER dreamed that things like this happened today. In Germany, pre-WWII, among Hitler's very first victims were the infirm in body or mind. He started with them. Today, while I'm sure they would be appalled at being compared to him, doctors still sometimes decide that a person's life is "not worth living."
So, since my eyes have been opened, I wanted to share with you just a couple of examples. Unfortunately, there are many more.
First is sweet Peter. He was six years old when he lost his battle. But it wasn't Trisomy exactly that took him. It was that his hospital records had "Trisomy" listed as one of his diagnosis. He was allowed to bleed to death, yes, "allowed" is the right word. His mother and others are now fighting to make sure that in Minnesota, hospitals must make public their "futility policies". YES, hospitals DO HAVE THESE, where THEY decide if it is worth fighting to stay alive. Here are a couple of articles, pretty short and well worth reading about the fight going on in Minnesota. And lest you think that Minnesota is all alone, please know that they are not. It's just where that particular battle is currently being fought.
- Peter Kellett and Trisomy 18: Part I - excerpt from the article
"The doctor said infection from appendicitis had strained Peter's heart to cause death. But the Kelletts weren't believing him. They ordered an independent autopsy, which found no infection. Peter had internally bled to death."
- Peter Kellett and Trisomy 18: Part II - excerpt from the article
"She said, "All throughout Peter's life, from the beginning, the only help it seemed we got (from the medical profession) was to help him die. There was a huge difference between the way doctors treated Peter and the way they treated our other kids. It was like they couldn't see the value of his life. The doctor (at his birth) said Peter would never contribute to society. My argument has been that people with disabilities contribute to society in the most important way. They help us become better people. I call them 'teachers of our souls.'"If having known that particular hospital had adopted a futility of care policy, Kellett wouldn't have taken Peter there. She said parents had the right to know these policies existed. She said, "I have a feeling what's behind (these futility of care policies) is saving money. There's a lot of passive euthanasia going on, especially involving kids with disabilities. We're still devastated over how Peter died."
Also, it seems ironic but appropriate that, once again, as a community, we are fighting to help a child live. Fortunately, some people with some very big clout have gotten involved, contacted some doctors and plans are being made (changed!). Today, baby Vanessa is fighting for her life. Her parents are fighting with her, against her hospital. She is at CHOP, one of the very best hospitals in the United States, but it has taken some muscle to get her treated. You can read about it here on Facebook or here on Change.org.
Please, don't close your eyes to this. Don't think that it doesn't involve you. It does. When someone decides that a life has no meaning, it touches everyone. Spread the word. Trisomy happens. That is not the tragedy. That there are those who think it makes a life unworthy, that is the tragedy. Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."