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A Mosaic of Traditions - One Virtual Sangha => The Metta Station => Socially Conscious => Topic started by: t on January 13, 2014, 01:15:42 am

Title: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: t on January 13, 2014, 01:15:42 am
Brain Dead Pregnant Woman Forced to be Kept on Life Support (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dys2fRuz1W8#ws)
...over forced life-support in Texas

Lawyers for relatives of Marlise Munoz,
who is 20 weeks pregnant and hooked to a ventilator,
plan legal action over Texas law requiring life support until fetus can be delivered.
Her parents and husband say they want to unhook the machines
keeping her brain-dead body alive.

Read more here (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/texas-family-pregnant-brain-dead-woman-sue-article-1.1575444#ixzz2qGQb74qx)

Opinions?
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: former monk john on January 13, 2014, 01:43:13 am
What I don't understand is why is the family, her husband etc so against the idea of having her baby????
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Dharmakara on January 13, 2014, 02:23:41 am
I suspect that it's not about them being against the idea of her having the baby, per se, but their personal belief that the woman didn't want to be kept alive by a machine in the first place --- such a sad story for all parties involved, including the unborn child.
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on January 13, 2014, 11:27:44 am
Sounds like a good law to me.  "Cause no harm."  If the father doesn't want a baby then he can give the child up after it is born for adoption. :dharma:
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: t on January 13, 2014, 06:04:55 pm
From my furry POV, I see several critical and complex issues for this family...

1. The age old debate:
a. Does one have legal rights over one's own body? To what extent?
b. And does a pregnancy mean that those legal rights are suspended fully in favour of a foetus over that of the woman carrying it, where its legal rights are limited in the US (re-Roe vs Wade), in this case, the State of Texas, and nearly non-existent outside of the US?
c. In this case, another subtle distinction occurs as the woman is brain dead, and legally and medically, that means just dead.
So, the next consideration: is one who's legally and medically dead have full legal rights?
d. With the notion of limited rights for the foetus, would a naturally terminated pregnancy (as this case seems to be due to the unfortunate circumstance of the dead mother who can no longer support the pregnancy) necessarily mean the same as intrusion on those limited rights?

2. What about respecting the last testament of the dead woman, who has already in mind that if she has to be put on life support, to forget it?
Both herself and husband are paramedics and both are of the same mind with their families that putting either one of them on life support is a not an option.
So, if the state insists on persisting on using the dead woman's body as an incubator until 24 weeks and/or beyond, is that not disrespecting and disregarding her last testament?

3. The family doesn't have much choice but to follow the state law which stipulates that they can only pull the plug, in this case due to a pregnancy, after the testing by 24 weeks, to ascertain if the foetus will survive, which at time of brain death, it's about 20 weeks. Now mind you, the woman already suffered oxygen deprivation for an hour, if that is fatal for her, I should think the foetus will also share this malady. So, they have to wait.
But question is: who is going to pay for the tab? The state or the family?

4. Even if the foetus survives to full term and gets born, there's a high chance of risk of the incubator body failing even with the plug on and/or disability resulting from the precarious situation. Now, who's going to foot the tab for this post natal occurrence, since the family is already gung ho on pulling the plug?

5. With all of the above points in mind:
a. What would the Teaching & Discipline recommend?
b. What can a Buddhist do?
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: t on January 13, 2014, 06:11:12 pm
I should also add to point #1 on the age old debate: when does life start and end?
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on January 14, 2014, 09:55:58 am
Hi, t.  Nice selection of issues to be considered when making choices as to what to do.  In this case I think it quite clear that there are "two" lives to be considered.:  The "dead" mother, and the "living" fetus.  The first precept clearly covers this point.  If we did not have the ability to maintain the "dead" mother's body as an incubator for nine months and thereby the life of the unborn child, then the decision would be simple.  But, modern medical technology allows for this benefit to the unborn human child (fetus).  As Buddha pointed out in the sutta regarding the probability of a sea turtle finding the hole in a floating yoke while rising from beneath the ocean , the opportunity to live as a human is so rare and precious that every opportunity should be given to facilitate a human rebirth.

Another unspoken consideration is "limited assets".  Perhaps the family of the child cannot afford to care for the child, especially since the wife/mother is now dead.  In that case, an agency which brokers those who want to be parents and those who do not want to be parents may be contacted to assist.
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Dharmakara on January 14, 2014, 11:11:17 am
As Buddha pointed out in the sutta regarding the probability of a sea turtle finding the hole in a floating yoke while rising from beneath the ocean , the opportunity to live as a human is so rare and precious that every opportunity should be given to facilitate a human rebirth.

But does anyone have the right to legislate the facilitation of that human rebirth?

At the end of the day it doesn't matter which side of the line we end up on when it comes to the issue of abortion --- the fact of the matter is that someone has taken it upon themselves to dictate what a woman should do with her body, even in death.
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on January 14, 2014, 02:03:21 pm
does anyone have the right to legislate the facilitation of that human rebirth?

That is a question for any given society or culture to which we belong.  Religions have been mostly clear on that point.

Many animals decide to kill their offspring when they sense that they cannot provide for them.  Mankind is just a more intelligent form of animal, which as a consequence can rationalize more excuses to kill.  Realizing this, mankind has developed laws to protect both the unborn and the living.  Which is right or wrong depends upon your personal perspective.  It is clear from The First Precept where Buddha came down on the issue.
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Dharmakara on January 14, 2014, 05:15:49 pm
I was not speaking from the point of the First Precept, but asking a rhetorical question. For example, what if the woman and family involved were devout Jehovah's Witnesses or some other sect that rejects medical treatment? What living hell would this be putting the family through if this were the case?

Sadder still is the fact that the Supreme Court has stripped away any rights of the father to even stop the mother from having an abortion --- if people are really sincere about their convictions, why not do something about that law?
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on January 15, 2014, 07:28:29 am
Quote
DK:  "Sadder still is the fact that the Supreme Court has stripped away any rights of the father to even stop the mother from having an abortion --- if people are really sincere about their convictions, why not do something about that law?"

There are any number of reasons of why laws should be changed, and many reasons why they should not be changed, none of which have anything to do with "sincerity":

For example, a person ticketed for jay-walking, speeding, or parking improperly are sincere in their concern about having to be inconvenienced by "the laws" , which are providing that they be fined, or punished for their ignorance, or lack of willingness to comply.  Others, who do not care about the law, and can afford to pay fines may be willing to ignore them.  All of this is considered minor in any given society until someone, the given law is meant to protect gets inconvenienced, hurt or killed as a result:

For example: A car parked  in a no-parking zone blocks the vision of drivers of oncoming traffic and pedestrians get run over at an intersection.

Another example:  A commuter late for work decides it is OK to double the speed limit, and/or run a traffic light and winds up colliding with a family on their way to the grocery store.

....and on and on and on......

Just because we cannot understand, or are ignorant for the reason for laws does not mean that we have the right to ignore them in any given society.  Abortion laws, like traffic laws were promulgated to protect lives:  the lives of unborn children, and the lives of mothers.  Where these laws set their priorities  and preferences is a choice / decision made for the "greater good" of the specific society.

An example of where such hard choices have been made by societies is in the migratory tribes of natives of The American West.  When tribes migrated under harsh, perhaps life-threatening conditions, if the elderly could not keep-up and stopping would endanger the other tribe members, the elderly would be left behind to deal with whatever awaited them:  sometimes hungry wolves, or sometimes enemies in pursuit.  Mountain climbers have often had to make the same terrible choices, opting to leave injured or suffocating fellow climbers behind.  So, laws are made to protect for the greater good.

Bottom line:  "Societies ultimately make these life and/or death choices for the greater good."  Those that fail to comply with choices (laws) are subject to punishment, hopefully, designed to fit the degree of noncompliance. 

Sincerity is not the issue.  Many criminals are sincerely sorry that they "got caught" breaking laws and are thereby subject to punishment or fines.
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: former monk john on January 15, 2014, 08:04:09 am
People are trying to make this into an abortion rights issue, and its not, the mother obviously doesn't want to have an abortion, she indicated she didn't want to be left on life support, but she never imagined being on life support and pregnant. The simple fact is a judge has to imagine what would the mother want in this case, and in all fairness I think chances are the mother would want her baby to live, the father's opinion doesn't seem very compassionate, seems the last thing he should be considering is killing the unborn baby of his greatly missed wife.
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Dharmakara on January 15, 2014, 08:43:41 am


and in all fairness I think chances are the mother would want her baby to live, the father's opinion doesn't seem very compassionate, seems the last thing he should be considering is killing the unborn baby of his greatly missed wife.

Hmmm... you complain about people trying to make this into an abortion rights issue, yet you end your post with the statement above... oh, the irony LOL

Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: former monk john on January 15, 2014, 09:00:53 am
well I guess you're pro abortion, not pro choice then, there's a difference

Buddhism teaches that life begins at conception, not some time in the second trimester, so from a buddhist standpoint we're talking about an unborn baby and killing it, the reason its not an abortion rights issue is the mother can't make a choice, in such a case as the mother cannot make the choice for an abortion, it seems erring on the side of preserving life would be wise, we never let a father make the decision for abortion, so I'm not sure there's any precedent for letting this father decide, my guess is by the time he has a healthy baby in his arms he will no longer be thinking about killing it.
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Dharmakara on January 15, 2014, 09:05:53 am
How does that make me pro-abortion? You need to take that nonsense elsewhere.
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Dharmakara on January 24, 2014, 03:24:14 pm
The judge just gave the order that the hospital is to remove her from life support.
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Marcus Epicurus on January 24, 2014, 04:49:33 pm
Compassion to all those involved.

May they find freedom from suffering.
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: t on January 24, 2014, 10:11:05 pm
Update here (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/24/munoz-pregnant-brain-dead-life-support/4839839/)

Anitya, duhkha, anatman, nirvana
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on January 25, 2014, 07:43:49 am
According to the news (CBS) last night, the baby, which motivated the medical staff to sustain the dead woman's body is encephalitic, which explains to me why the father was willing / motivated to let go of his unborn child. The hospital medical staff made no comment due to HIPPA.

May all of the family members find mental equanimity during this difficult process.

May the dead mother and unborn child both experience beneficial rebirths. :pray:
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: former monk john on January 25, 2014, 08:09:25 am
All the news about the babys condition came in the last week, the father was trying to have her put to sleep long before that, Ron. Also the news about the babys condition is all coming from the fathers lawyers, not the hospital.
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Dharmakara on January 25, 2014, 09:50:17 am
Like Ron said, the reason that the hospital hasn't been the one making public announcements is because of HIPPA. By the way, there's also the spectre of a law suit hanging over their heads because the writers of the law in Texas were on the news saying the hospital was deliberately misapplying the law, another reason they're still not speaking about it.
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: former monk john on February 03, 2014, 06:40:08 pm
A slightly more uplifting story about a husband in the same situation, hopefully with a happier ending!!

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2014/02/03/Donations-sought-to-keep-brain-dead-pregnant-woman-on-life-support/UPI-61401391477175/ (http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2014/02/03/Donations-sought-to-keep-brain-dead-pregnant-woman-on-life-support/UPI-61401391477175/)
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: t on February 22, 2014, 03:23:54 am
02-21-14 Life Support or Not? - BBCorner (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3LOknjJCZU#ws)
Title: Re: Family of brain-dead pregnant woman will sue
Post by: Marcus Epicurus on February 24, 2014, 02:14:27 pm
an opportunity to see and understand impermanence and suffering
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