The New England Journal of Medicine continually publishes advocacy articles that promote radical changes in medical ethics and public policies. For example, it uncritically published the Groningen Protocol, the infanticide bureaucratic checklist used by doctors in deciding which disabled or dying babies to euthanize in the Netherlands.
Now it has published an advocacy article expressing the wish that imminently dying patients be able to donate a kidney before death. Joshua Mezrich tells the story of W. B., dying of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), who wanted this harvest and then die procedure. From “Altruisim in Extremis:”
Mezrich could not fulfill W.B.’s wish. As W.B. grew sicker, wheelchair-bound and unable to swallow, he and Mezrich devised a plan for “imminent death donation” (IDD). W.B. would go to the hospital, receive general anesthesia, have one kidney removed, then return to the intensive care unit, where he’d be extubated and die, presumably, from ALS.
But despite “overwhelming” ethics-committee support, the attorneys the hospital consulted informed Mezrich that he and any staff involved would risk being charged with murder or acceleration of the patient’s death. So W.B., whose mind remained sharp and alert despite being unable to move, swallow, or speak, spent his final days in the hospice where he died. None of his organs were donated.
This is why I don’t trust hospital-ethics committees. Members are often trained to respond positively to nakedly relativistic utilitarian analyses that ignore venerable moral values and the intrinsic dignity of human life.
Read more at National Review