Comatose Patient Glad Parents Didn’t Listen to Doctors’ Euthanasia Suggestion

Bioethics   Steven Ertelt   Aug 4, 2008   |   9:00AM    WASHINGTON, DC

Comatose Patient Glad Parents Didn’t Listen to Doctors’ Euthanasia Suggestion

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 4
, 2008

Casper, WY (LifeNews.com) — Opponents of assisted suicide have always said that legalizing the grisly practice would lead to euthanasia, where patients would be killed without their request or consent. A Wyoming man who was formally brain dead and comatose is glad that his parents didn’t listen to doctors, who suggested taking his life.

Kevin Monk suffered both several psychical and brain injuries when he was injured in an automobile accident eight years ago.

The 25-year-old went into a coma after the impact of the accident and had no brain function for 18 days afterwards.

Monk spent three months in the coma and, during that time, he told the Casper Star-Tribune that his physicians apparently tried to talk his parents into taking his life.

"Some of the doctors told Mom and Dad to just pull the plug," Monk said, upset to learn that now that he’s recovering from his injuries. "Doctors are there to heal, not to give up."

Monk’s mom, Janice, also talked with the newspaper about the prompting and the incorrect diagnosis that Monk would never recover and be in a so-called persistent vegetative state.

"We heard that for months," she said. "From every place we went, they told us he’d never be anything but a vegetable."

Wesley J. Smith, an author and attorney who specializes in end-of-life issues, said he warned about that attitude that it is better to die than live cognitively disabled when he wrote his book Culture of Death in 2001.

At the time, he said some doctors now report a rush to write off newly unconscious patients as disposable, and consign them to death by cutting off life support before they have a chance to recover.

"I was accused by some of my critics of alarmism, but in the years since this trend has only gotten worse," he said. "It really does seem to me that my warning was spot on."

"Once the law and medical ethics countenanced the dehydration of those in a persistent vegetative state and minimally conscious states based on quality of life considerations, we declared some lives not worth living," he explained.

"And that became the reigning ethical paradigm threatening people with long term disabilities and acute injuries alike," he concluded.

 

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