Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Obviously It's All The Fault Of Religion...

Religious beliefs are so awkward, aren't they? Without them, life would be so much simpler... or should that be "death"?

An article in the Journal of Medical Ethics (reported in the Daily Telegraph) is calling for parents' religious views to be "given less weight" ("ignored" is probably a more accurate term, though less politically correct) when courts are considering whether or not medical treatment should be terminated.

The authors of the article (one of whom, rather bizarrely, was the main hospital chaplain) proposed that, since the child would be too young to subscribe to its parents' religious beliefs, these beliefs should not be respected. And in case you think I'm paraphrasing a little harshly, here's the quote taken from the Daily Telegraph article:

"'While it is vital to support families in such difficult times, we are increasingly concerned that deeply held belief in religion can lead to children being potentially subjected to burdensome care in expectation of 'miraculous’ intervention,' the authors warned. 'In many cases, the children about whom the decisions are being made are too young to subscribe to the religious beliefs held by their parents, yet we continue to respect the parents’ beliefs.'"

Am I the only one to wonder how long it will be before all people of a religious belief will be considered as unfit to care for their children in case they indoctrinate them into those beliefs?

As it so happens, the Catholic Faith does not impose a requirement to have burdensome medical treatment. However, it is worth noting that doctors are not infallible, and mistakes in prognosis are not unknown. It is also rather important to note that, since the case of Tony Bland, in the UK the administration of food and water is considered to be "medical treatment."

4 comments:

John Simlett said...

Interesting post, Mac. Your opening lines chime with Freud.

I suppose one could argue that blood transfusions - in the case of Jehovah Witnesses - should be given to children, despite their parents religious beliefs. If we agree with this argument then where do we draw the line?

... nevertheless...

My mother, brought up as an orphan "Child of Nazareth," anticipated and received 'miraculous intervention'. Given six months to live with cancer - she outlived it by 36 years. She had no trace of cancer at her post mortem. It confounded the medics over the years. One mentioned 'blind faith' ... another dodgy diagnosis.

John Simlett said...

ooops! I meant to add a few blonde stories!

My youngest granddaughter not only won a special prize for English, on her graduation, she also won Miss Blonde Moments for her:
- We don't need photosynthesis now that we have digital cameras.
- Her famous, but short lived, Save the African Tiger campaign

John Kearney said...

Well, I am sure that these doctors would have been very happy under Adolf Hitler, when the burden was removed by simply taking the handicapped and disabled off to be gassed. Then there were the humane experiments on the Jews, humane because they were seeking the betterment of the German race, so there motives could not be falted. Deprive subject like embryos or Jews of human qualtities and lack of compassion becomes easy The Gas Chamber or manutrition and d dehydration what is the difference, the medical profession must progress.

sprachenbegeisterter said...

The other side of the coin here is also the stripping of parental responsibilities. "You're not wise enough/don't know what's best for your own children, so we'd best step in"

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