Friday, June 16, 2006
The culture of life prepares to claim another one
By JAMIE STENGLE
Associated Press Writer
DALLAS (AP) -- A woman at odds with a hospital over whether it would be futile to continue life support for her 11-month-old son has been given two weeks to find a facility willing to take the baby.
Daniel Wayne Cullen II was hospitalized in early April after suffering from a lack of oxygen when he pulled out a tube that was helping him breathe. He had a tracheotomy after his premature birth.
Brian Potts, attorney for Daniel's mother, Dixie Belcher, said the boy is in stable condition and exhibiting some brain function, but not at normal levels. He's also on a ventilator and feeding tubes, Potts said.
Last month, the ethics board of Children's Medical Center Dallas agreed with the child's doctor that continued treatment would be futile.
On May 19, a judge granted Belcher a temporary restraining order blocking the hospital from ending life support. The parties agreed to a two-week extension at the end of May, and confirmed Thursday that they have agreed to a second extension.
"We;ve been making a lot of contacts and things look promising," Potts said.
Children's said the hospital could not comment further because of privacy laws and the involvement of Child Protective Services. Daniel and his older brother have been in CPS custody since Daniel was hospitalized.
CPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales has said Daniel was removed from Belcher's custody because there was reason to believe there had been neglectful supervision and medical neglect. Her parental rights have not been terminated, Gonzales said.
Under a Texas law signed by then-Gov. George W. Bush in 1999, hospitals don't have to continue life support more than 10 days after their ethics board decides lifesaving measures are pointless. Families, however, have the right to look for a facility that will continue treatment.
This would be the point where I make a snarky comment about "pro-life" being a misnomer for people like Bush. His "culture of life" places more import on the hosptial's bottom line than on a child's life. This isn't the first time this law has been invoked either. There was another baby last year who was allowed to die because his (poor) family couldn't find another facility to take him on.
Explain to me, please, how when Terri Schaivo's feeding tube was being removed we had a literal act of Congress and Pres. FratBoy swooping in to save her life, but it's perfectly okay to let hospitals, not families, decide when people should live or die? Where's the public outcry to save these lives? Are they not equally important? And how, exactly, is okay for a hospital board, who has no emotional investment in the life of this child, to decide he must die, but it's not okay for a woman to decide to have an abortion? How is is more humane to allow a child to be born, suffer and then have his fate decided by people who don't love him than for his mother to decide, before he has any awareness or ability to suffer, to terminate her pregnancy?
If life is sacred, and isn't that the claim of the "pro-life" crowd?, then how is this law allowed to stand? It reveals the lie in their slogans and claims and paints, yet another, giant Hypocrite sign on Bush.