A woman in Ireland wants a judge to allow her daughter to be starved to death, claiming the young woman is suffering in a “vegetative state” and continuing to feed her is “cruel.”
Breaking News Ireland reports the woman, who is not named in reports, recently made the request to the High Court of Ireland, asking that her daughter’s food and hydration tube be removed.
The daughter is in her 20s and has been disabled for almost 10 years, according to the report. Her disabilities were caused by cardiac arrest at age 18, likely from an illegal drug overdose.
High Court president Mr Justice Peter Kelly said the case raises “very sad” and “very serious” ethical issues.
Here’s more from the report:
Mr Justice Kelly said the background to the case was “very sad” and the mother had reached a stage where she believed the peg tube feeding of her daughter had prolonged, not reduced, her pain and suffering.
The mother believes there is no dignity in her daughter’s current position and, while appreciating the efforts of the HSE and carers, she does not believe continuing the current treatment regime is in her daughter’s best interests.
The mother wants the court to make orders which would bring about removal of feeding and hydration “with the inevitable consequence that would have for any human being”.
It is not clear when the case will be heard. It began after doctors scheduled a surgery to relieve pressure on the young woman’s brain, and an issue arose with a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, the report states. The young woman’s mother and stepfather oppose the treatment and support the DNR, according to the report.
Though the young woman is described as “vegetative,” it is not clear what her condition is. Pro-life bioethicists and leaders have urged people to stop using the dehumanizing term. People who are called “vegetables” are still human beings.
Some may be able to hear, and others may respond to stimuli. Terri Schiavo is probably the most famous example. Though media reports used the dehumanizing term to describe her, her family said she did not rely on life support, and she was not dying.
Bioethics attorney Wesley J. Smith wrote in 2013 about another case to deny spoon feeding to a woman with Alzheimer’s in Canada who was eating voluntarily.
“Demeaning any human being as no more important than a rutabaga opens the door to profound abuse. Indeed, every day people with profound cognitive impairments are made to die slowly by dehydration by being denied tube-supplied food and water,” he wrote at the time. “… human exceptionalism holds that if we are to have a truly equal society, it must apply to all of us, not just some.”
LifeNews Note: File photo.