Florida considers law outlawing withdrawal of food and water

Appeals Court Refuses to Order Schiavo’s Feeding Reinstated: “In Tallahassee, Governor Bush worked to gather support for a bill that could force at least a temporary restoration of Ms. Schiavo’s feeding tube. A measure passed last week by the House of Representatives would outlaw the withdrawal of food and water from people in a ‘persistent vegetative state,’ as doctors have diagnosed Ms. Schiavo, who had not left specific instructions refusing artificial sustenance.”

I can’t believe this bill would gain any traction in Florida. The majority of Fl citizens are elderly, and while I have no doubt that most of them want to live long, fulfilling lives, I’d be willing to bet that most of them wouldn’t want to be kept alive in circumstances such as these. Nationwide polling seems to support this.

Clearly, the way out of this is leave clear instructions concerning end-of-life instructions. If you’re not so thoughtful, however, what do you do?

In a way, this reminds me of the anti-death penalty arguments: we shouldn’t execute people because there’s always some chance they could be innocent. Witness testimony is unreliable, and DNA evidence has been exonerating people left and right. Can we apply a similar argument to someone in a persistent vegetative state who hasn’t left instructions concerning end-of-life?

2 thoughts on “Florida considers law outlawing withdrawal of food and water”

  1. heck, there are people who would question the reliability of living wills, and even the vocally stated wishes of the conscious and coherenet terminally ill who would rather die on their own terms than at the mercy of a slowly progressing and extremely unpleasant disease.

  2. Kat: I was under the impression (and I’m sure I don’t fully understand the process) that those verbally stated wishes from the already ill had to be evaluated by doctors who actually made the decision. For instance, if in their opinion the patient was just speaking out of pain, or whatnot.

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