Friday, October 22, 2010

Remember: "Clinically Dead" isn't "Dead"

Over in France, recently, a woman was being prepared for a chemotherapy session. She passed out. That's where it got interesting:
"...A doctor managed to resuscitate her and put her on a ventilator but then, having consulted other doctors, called Paillard's sons to break the news that their mother was 'very certainly clinically dead.'..."
(Discovery News)
Sad, isn't it? Well, the woman was 60 - and old people like that die all the time, right? Besides, she had cancer.

'Doctor Knows Best?'

Her sons weren't willing to accept what the doctors said, and insisted that their mother be kept on life support.

Sentiment overruling the great minds of Science and Medicine? Maybe.

The woman woke up a few hours later.

I wrote about this little incident yesterday, in another blog. (" 'I was Dead, But I'm Better Now'," Apathetic Lemming of the North (October 21, 2010))

Being an Organ Donor: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Incidents like that keep me from checking off the 'organ donor' option on my driver's license. I don't want to wake up on a dissecting table because some hotshot medico decided that I looked dead.

On the other hand, I'm quite willing to have parts taken for use - after I'm done with them. I've discussed organ transplants before (May 6, 2009, for starters)

Organ Transplants: "Meritororous," Sometimes

The Catholic Church has - what else? - rules about organ transplants:
"Organ transplants are in conformity with the moral law if the physical and psychological dangers and risks to the donor are proportionate to the good that is sought for the recipient. Organ donation after death is a noble and meritorous act and is to be encouraged as an expression of generous solidarity. It is not morally acceptable if the donor or his proxy has not given explicit consent. Moreover, it is not morally admissible directly to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being, even in order to delay the death of other persons."
(Catechism, 2296)
Vague, No: Real, Yes
I think, by the way, that Catechism, 2296, is an example of why some folks think the Catholic Church is 'vague' about some issues. (July 18, 2009, July 17, 2009, March 13, 2010) We've been dealing with people for about two millennia now: and know that issues involving human beings aren't always simple.

We aren't told that organ transplants are
  • Utterly forbidden
    • Evil
    • Intolerant
    • Satanic
    • Racist
    • Un-Biblical
    • Whatever
  • Always okay
    • Under all circumstances
    • No matter what
We're told what the moral issues are, and how to apply Catholic principles to our decision-making process.

Meanwhile, Back in France

The Discovery News article didn't give enough detail for me to guess why the doctors were so eager to write that woman off. I'm just glad that she had sons who were willing to defy 'medical experts,' and give her a chance to wake up.

Which brings up family responsibilities - and that's another topic.

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.