I recall clearly the first time I heard of anyone withholding food and water from a critically ill patient. The incident came through a family in one of the churches Jerry pastored, where a quite elderly parent was critically ill and not expected to live. Although I did not say anything, for it would have been inappropriate for me to do so, I was horrified. That the basic necessities of food and water would be withheld from anyone, I believed to be wrong then, and continue with that thought to this moment.
Now comes this astonishing development, reported yesterday, in which a woman who has been in a vegetative state for five months could clearly hear what others said, and while she could not physically move, her brain waves were consistent with those who understood such commands.
Woman in coma plays tennis
Friday, 8 September 2006
Brain scans of a woman who has been in a vegetative state for five months show her imagining playing tennis and responding to commands, researchers report.
Such issues strike a vulnerable spot in me, for when Jerry was struck down by a drunk driver, and was severely injured, the doctors intimated that we should consider how long we would keep him on life support. It is the epitome of grace and mercy that Jerry recovered and we did not have to entertain such thoughts.
Although I can’t imagine being able to do it, I have no quarrel with those who elect to remove their loved ones from life support, when there seems to be no hope. But to withhold the basic ingredients of life—food and water—I am in total disagreement from allowing such a thing. I understand that is not the issue here, but these new findings confirm my thoughts that no unconscious person should have food and water denied.