When his teenage son Christopher, brain-damaged in an auto accident, developed a 105-degree fever following weeks of unconsciousness, John Campbell asked the attending physician for help. The doctor refused. Why bother? The boy’s life was effectively over. Campbell refused to accept this verdict. He demanded treatment and threatened legal action. The doctor finally relented. With treatment, Christopher’s temperature—which had eventually reached 107.6 degrees—subsided almost immediately. Soon afterward the boy regained consciousness and was learning to walk again.
This story is one of many Wesley J. Smith recounts in his award-winning classic critique of the modern bioethics movement, Culture of Death. In this newly updated edition, Smith chronicles how the threats to the equality of human life have accelerated in recent years, from the proliferation of euthanasia and the Brittany Maynard assisted suicide firestorm, to the potential for “death panels” posed by Obamacare and the explosive Terri Schiavo controversy.
Culture of Death reveals how more and more doctors have withdrawn from the Hippocratic Oath and how “bioethicists” influence policy by posing questions such as whether organs may be harvested from the terminally ill and disabled. This is a passionate yet coolly reasoned book about the current crisis in medical ethics by an author who has made “the new thanatology” his consuming interest.