Thursday, April 07, 2005

Useless Eaters

More mischief -- this time in Georgia.

Is Mae Magouirk being starved and dehydrated simply because her granddaughter wants the money? We need to see the court documents and living will to confirm that Mae's wishes are being violated -- and the clock is ticking. If Mae's wishes as codified in a living will are being violated and the courts are turning a blind eye, then we have a problem that will require federal intervention.

If the law does not protect the defenseless when they have requested protection via the law (and this again highlights the uselessness of living wills), then it is time to calibrate our laws and the manner in which they are interpreted as Senator Cornyn has suggested.

This smells of the larger issue of Checkbook Euthanasia.

According to a 2002 report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, the frequency of persistent vegetative state in the United States is 64 to 140 per million people. Thus, somewhere between 538 and 1,176 North Carolinians are probably afflicted with this condition. At a cost of about $80,000 a year per person, this translates to an annual financial burden to the North Carolina health-care system of $43 million to $94 million—enough to hire between 1,500 and 3,500 additional public school teachers.

It was easy for the media to chronicle and champion the Civil Rights Era since people were sitting at lunch counters and in the front of the bus, but how will the media champion the Disabled Rights Era when many are quietly starving and dying of thirst in hospices all over this country?

People without a voice.

Will we speak for them?

More importantly, will we demand action by our legislators to protect them?


The title of this post comes from a Life Matters! post which points us to this Journal of Special Education article which highlights the evil thinking from the previous Century to today:

In Binding and Hoche's terms, [the former] were "useless eaters" whose "ballast lives" could be tossed overboard to better balance the economic ship of state. In speaking of those with disabilities, and explicitly advocating involuntary euthanasia, Binding and Hoche wrote:

Their life is absolutely pointless, but they do not regard it as being unbearable. They are a terrible, heavy burden upon their relatives and society as a whole. Their death would not create even the smallest gap--except perhaps in the feelings of their mothers or loyal nurses.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.