Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fighting the Doctors: Emilio Gonzalez Gets a Temporary Reprieve

A dying toddler facing removal of his life support system received a reprieve Tuesday when hospital officials agreed to keep his breathing device running until at least April 10.

The decision came hours after attorneys for Emilio Gonzales, a 16-month-old who doctors believe has Leigh's disease, filed a temporary restraining order request to prevent removal of his life support. Gonzales, who has been at Children's Hospital in Austin since December, was scheduled to be taken off life support Friday.

The deadline extension also came hours after Catarina Gonzales, Emilio's mother, appeared at the Capitol with lawmakers who support a bill that would prohibit hospitals from stopping life-sustaining treatment while a family pursues a transfer or other care.

Under the current law, doctors are obligated to give only 10 days notice before withdrawing treatment when further care is deemed medically futile, even over the wishes of the patient and family...

With medical costs drastically increasing at the same time that spirituality, compassion and the respect for the inherent dignity of human life are decreasing, we can expect a lot more of this in the days to come.

God help us.

Wesley J. Smith comments on this development here.