March 10, 2005

Life, Death and Alternatives

by PG

In a story listed under a procedural update regarding Sun Hudson, the Houston Chronicle reports on another legal fight over removing life support, this time for a 68-year-old retired electrical engineer. The same attorney, Mario Caballero, represents both families.

Caballero said he is confident the family can find a facility to take Nikolouzos and that a refiled request for an extension can be granted before life support is removed Friday at 3 p.m. Asked if that was procedurally possible, [Judge] Lindsay said, "I don't know."
A system in which death can be deferred by transferring a patient to another hospital strikes me as likely to be abused, or at least tipped, by money and other forms of influence. Had Nikolouzos been a major donor to another area hospital, I suspect that the grateful institution would extend its hospitality to him, even if they had no more belief in the usefulness of further care than St. Luke's. Hospital ethics committees should strive for a more unified standard of determining which patients are dis-served by extending their lives.

March 10, 2005 10:42 AM | TrackBack
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