Second note (see bottom for first note): I’m so sorry to report that Andrea Clark has died. My heart goes out to everyone who loved her.)
I’ve been accused of idolatry, self-reference, and toeing the party line. And the accusations are being repeated on other pro-life blogs. My accuser attacked Dr. James Dobson before, both he and Ambassador Alan Keyes of RenewAmerica.us apologized for it. I don’t have a link to the source of the essay. It’s not on the RenewAmerica.us website, and it looks like Mr. Longman’s not associated with them anymore. There is an email address given: email@example.com.
It would have been polite for Mr. Longman to discuss his criticism with me or to at least let me know that he was passing around such comments. Or for those quoting him to alert me or at least link to LifeEthics, so readers could judge for themselves.
Hopefully, those who read the blog will see that I, too, adamantly demand that medicine return to the First Principle of nonmaleficense, “First, do no harm.” At least a link to the original article on LifeEthics might have shown an attempt to explain the art of medicine as a process of using what we know, what we can measure, and what others can and have reproduced and proven true and reliable in other situations. And that I didn’t approve of removing the ventilator against the objections of the family.
Just to make it clear: the doctor assumed his actions were futile. If he assumed any patient to be futile, his priorities are wrong and they are as bad as this essay accuses.
Again, I was trying to explain the law and correct often-repeated myths about it. The law does not require that a patient be transferred from the original hospital after the ethics committee rules on the treatment decision of the doctor. And, of course, the fact that Mrs. Clark is still at St. Luke’s shows this to be true.
As to the “self-referent” comments on reevaluating: hopefully, a lot of people, including the original attending doctor, have learned important lessons about life, death and hubris from Mrs. Clark and her survival at least a week longer than the doctor and hospital predicted. Would they have made the same choices knowing what they know now? What clues were missed and will the lessons we all learn change our actions the next time?
Unfortunately, it appears that Mrs. Clark’s condition has worsened after the gallbladder procedure and that the assumption that the gall bladder was blocked was mistaken. She, her loved ones and doctors and other care-givers should still be in the prayers of those of us with faith.
Edit Note: that email address doesn’t work.
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