The Unfortunate Case of Charlie Gard

This is an unfortunate story to be sure, but in England, young Charlie Gard was born with a very rare genetic disorder.  He was born seemingly normal, but quickly started to deteriorate.  He now has severe, irreversible brain damage, cannot move on his own, and has to be on a ventilator to breathe and IV fluids to survive.  His parents initially wanted to take him to America for an experimental treatment, but the British medical establishment stopped them over fears that it would be “cruel” to Charlie to allow him to be experimented on.

I guess dying isn’t cruel, especially when it’s unclear whether or not he’s feeling pain.

But this isn’t about governmental stupidity, it’s not even about experimental medical therapies, it’s about the cry to keep people alive who simply have no hope.  Charlie, at least at this point, is doomed to death. An American doctor, Michio Hirano, went to London to check on Charlie’s status and stated that while he might have been a candidate for the treatment at one time, he’s now beyond hope.  His parents have given up the legal fight to keep Charlie alive, which is probably the best thing that could happen to him at this point.

My question is, why do we keep seeing these cases, where a government or a society, desperately tries to keep these hopeless cases alive at all costs?  In fact, in every high profile case where someone is absolutely going to die, we get people demanding that they be kept on every machine in the hospital so their living nightmare can continue unabated.  It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about Brittany Maynard, who was going to die of brain cancer no matter what anyone did and just wanted to die on her own terms, or Terri Schiavo, who was forcibly kept alive for a decade against the wishes of her husband and legal representative, these cases are utterly disgusting.

It is none of society’s business what people do with their own bodies, or through their legal representatives.  It just isn’t.  The abject fear of death causes not only physical and mental torture to those afflicted, but it imposes absurd costs on society in a ridiculous pursuit of healing where no healing is possible. After all, it isn’t the parents or the individuals who are paying for these absurd life-saving measures, it’s the taxpayer.  Sorry, I don’t want my tax money going to pay for pointless and irrational moral crusades.  I just don’t.

I hate to say it, but the best thing that can happen to Charlie Gard now is that he dies.  Quickly and as painlessly as possible.  He couldn’t be saved.  In fact, British society actively killed him by keeping him from the only hope he had.  I hope they’re happy with themselves, but I suspect they don’t care. There will be another crusade to go on soon and they’ll cause more pain and suffering when it does.  People suck.

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