Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

5/2/2003

Cruel and Unusual

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:32 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

While I was looking for something totally unrelated, I came across the following news story:

“Marjorie Nighbert, a 76-year-old Florida woman, was hospitalized in 1996 after a stroke. Before her hospital admission, she signed an advance directive that no “heroic measures” should be employed to save her life. On the basis of that directive and at the request of her family, the hospital denied her requests for food and water … Until her death more than 10 days later, Nighbert was restrained in her bed to prevent her raiding other patients’ food trays.”

The Washington Post National Weekly Edition, January 13, 1997, page 23.

This is truly the most horrific and cruel thing I have read in years. Since when were “food and water” considered heroic measures? Why didn’t the family do something? At what point did denying her food and water seem like a reasonable thing to do? How could a doctor, having taken the Hippocratic Oath, allow such brutality to occur?
Is it any wonder why law makers want to protect us from ourselves? We hold ourselves as an enlightened society, superior to the rest of the world, but things like this go on here still. I’m simply stunned.

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