When you don't have a brain, are you still a human?

If you have no soul are you still a human being? If you cannot think are you still a human being?

There was a case, about a baby born who is born without a brain, and a doctor suggests that the baby should be left to be dead. Yet the parents want it alive.

What is the ethical problem?

No brain = dead.

Incapable of forming human relationships? Dead.

No your dead, and so was the baby when it was born, they must have put it on some form of life support or something which would be unprecedented from my understanding.

This recent movement to use medical science to keep dead humans alive is the most sick twisted torturous and disgusting thing we have done so far. Like no one is supposed to die anymore, or its bad to die, what’s up with that? Dieing is as natural as living and no matter what they do we will all die someday. Is there a sudden shortage of life that I don’t know about? Why do we insist on perpetuating defective genes?

The parents should be prosecuted or openly and publicly ridiculed for this asininely selfish and sinful idea.

Actually, that particular baby got represented by various conservative groups that wanted to keep it alive because it was being persecuted for being disabled.

They considered it human, without a brain. If life begins at conception, where does one draw the line? It was fully human by that definition, and as alive as Schiavo which many conservatives also said was alive.

But in actuality, the parents wanted to give the child up for organ donation, but the doctors didn’t let them.

w/o a brain, you are not human, you are dead. period.

So what should doctors do, if the parents want the baby to be alive?
Should the doctors just prolong its living?

I need an explanation or principle? Isn’t the doctor’s duty is to life.

Is there a problem with the parents? What is it then?

You have to understand the source of life first, then you will know when a body is just sustained by pumping blood trough it enough to slow down the rotting process.

Unfortunately most doctors don’t understand life enough to know this and that’s where we get into the seeming moral and ethical conundrums.

My Mother-in-law is without a brain, yet she is human. I wish people without brains were not human, then I wouldn’t have to call her my Mother-in-law.

Whats brain?

Hmmm, I had the story a pinch wrong:

Baby K

Baby K was born on October 13, 1992, with anencephaly, a condition involving absence of the cerebral and cerebellar portions of the brain, for which there is no curative or ameliorative treatment. Baby K was permanently unconscious, could not hear or see, and apparently could not feel pain, but did have sucking, swallowing and coughing reflexes (consistent with the condition of anencephaly). She had difficulty breathing at birth and was placed on a ventilator. Hospital personnel encouraged Ms. H, Baby K’s mother, to enter a DNR order and to discontinue ventilator treatment for Baby K. Ms. H refused to permit either. Baby K was eventually weaned from the ventilator and transferred to a nursing home, where she had several subsequent episodes of respiratory distress requiring rehospitalization and a tracheotomy. Ms. H continued to seek aggressive care for Baby K. The hospital filed suit in federal district court seeking a declaratory ruling and injunctive relief to the effect that its future refusal to provide Baby K with life-sustaining medical care (primarily the ventilator), would not violate the following laws: The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (the “Rehab Act”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Child Abuse Amendments of 1984, and the Virginia Medicine Malpractice Act.

The court denied the hospital the relief it sought under EMTALA, the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, and declined, for technical legal reasons, to make a ruling under the Child Abuse Amendments or the Malpractice Act. As to EMTALA, the court refused to recognize an exception to EMTALA’s plain requirement that a hospital provide stabilizing emergency medical treatment for an emergency medical condition based upon the hospital’s assertion that such stabilizing treatment is futile or “inhumane.” The court noted that even if such an exception were available in the language of EMTALA, it would not apply in Baby K’s case because the use of a ventilator is not futile or inhumane in relieving Baby K’s acute respiratory distress, which is the condition for which she sought emergency medical treatment. The court also argued that withholding the ventilator from Baby K would violate both the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA. The hospital had admitted that the sole reason that it wanted to withhold the ventilator was because of Baby K’s “handicapping condition,” her anencephaly. The language of these two statutes does not permit denial of ventilator services to a disabled child when those services would be given to other, non-disabled children.

Because of the nature of legal relief sought by the hospital in this case, the court was not asked to address directly the issues of whether or not ventilator care was “futile” for Baby K, or whether or not the hospital or treating physicians had the authority to stop providing care that they had determined was futile. Instead, the case supports the proposition that heath care providers who assume authority to discontinue treatment that they feel is futile when the patient or the patient’s surrogate desires such treatment, may face liability under EMTALA, the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act if the patient is in an emergency medical condition or is disabled. [Source: In the Matter of Baby K, 832 F.supp. 1022, E.D. Va. 1993.]

Principles & Concepts: human dignity, right to life, personhood, right to health care, professional & institutional integrity, proportionate/ disproportionate means, principles of integrity and totality, best interests.

That was great information XUNZian.
I wish to add that 2 years later, the baby die of a heart attack.

I do partly agree with you, but I don’t see why you condemn the parents. Don’t you have any sympathy at all for the parent’s decisions over their own flesh and blood, don’t you understand that you must have quite the nerve to publicly ridicule someone for taking actions in a situation where most couldn’t comprehend what they will be going through psychologically, or even know how they would react in such a depressing set of circumstances? Are you saying that you are a superior person to one who has a disability (defective genes as you put it) which is not even their fault, and that they should be put to death because of this when they have not the gift of self-autonomy to argue against you taking away the only life they’ve got (reminds me of Hitler’s murder of the disabled to rid the world of the supposed inferiors). I suppose these here statements are in accordance with your theory of lovewhich drives the human race.

This act by the parents is purely a disgusting selfish act, they don’t do it for the child, in fact they couldn’t possibly be thinking of the child at all, they are thinking of themselves or have evil ulterior motives.

True Love will make you think of the child’s welfare above your own, in this case a child born dead and they cannot accept that so they rail against the natural laws and try to make their own as well as the doctors. This is beyond reproach and is from the ugliest part of human nature that tries to be God and make your own truth.

What if that child could feel somehow and was trapped in agony, writhing in pure physical and mental misery, the very idea sends shivers up my spine and it should be the same for the parents if they had any Love in them for the child, but this action proves that they don’t. They do great evil for this action and the mere possibility of the torture they could be putting the child through is sickening and someone should say so, very strongly.

The parents are acting a selfishness? That is a good reason.

The medical bills for baby k $500,000. And the parents couldn’t afford it.
So I believe they didn’t paid, the hospitals is not obliged to help.

Oh, once upon a time I would have answered ‘no’. I was naive.

whats that suppose to mean? Hush the poetic language.

It helps to have a point when you post a reply, so far I don’t see any, what does the medical bill have to do with them wanting to keep the dead baby on machines to slow the rotting process down?

I hate developing points, I just like to throw ideas there and there.

IF the doctors saw you have bad credit, will they perform surgery?
IF the doctors saw you have stop paying the debt you owe them, are they still going to help you?

I think that if a lifeform is composed of human cells then it’s human, even if it doesn’t have a soul or a brain. A foetus is human. A person who has lost their soul is an evil human being. If somebody becomes brain dead, then they are a badly damaged human, etc.

Actually Dan in cases such as this, the gov’t will pay the hospital bills. Minor children with life threatening illness and parents inability to pay hospital bills,the Gov’t will step in and cover the expense. The shriners and St. Judes are both well known for thier excellent care and not charging parents for care, if the parents cannot afford it.

My in-laws had 10 kids one was disabled, and the Gov’t stepped in upon the reccomendation from their church to assist my in-laws. If people know how to ask, the Gov’t covers just about any medical or educational bills when it comes to minor kids. If you know how to ask or where to go.