Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Saving Babies...

As longtime IB readers know, we don't always focus exclusively on insurance issues here. Sometimes, we look at the bigger picture and, if appropriate, seek out insurance-related themes. And so it is with this sad story, which begins with a year and a half old baby boy, hospital-bound in Austin, Texas.
Emilio Gonzales was born with a rare malady called Leigh's Disease, which is "a rare inherited neurometabolic disorder characterized by degeneration of the central nervous system." The normal treatment protocol calls for massive doses of thiamine or Vitamin B1. Even then, the prognosis is far from hopeful: most die by age 6 or 7.
Young Emilio may not even make it that far: the hospital at which he's being treated has gone to court, seeking to have his life-support withdrawn. Under state law, they are entitled to do this, if they cross all the t's and dot all the i's. What's particularly sad is that his mother, Catarina, knows that he's dying, and still wants to hold onto him as long as possible. Even more tragic, she's apparently unable to have more children (the article I linked doesn't say why, and it's really none of my business). Her family supports her in this endeavor, and it has pitted their desire to nurture against the hospital's desire to end what it considers a painful and ultimately unviable existence.
Interestingly, it seems that there's not a specific financial issue at stake: unlike Nicole's baby, there are no assets in dispute, and Medicaid is paying the hospital tab (or rather, we taxpayers are).
Bob and I exchanged some email on this, and he said "(e)asy for me to say pull the plug. That isnt my son." Exactly. It's one thing to understand empirically that the boy's chances are, at best, hopeless; it's quite another to act on that belief.
I've said before that my better half believes that "there are no coincidences." So it shouldn't be surprising that today I also found this article, which says: "A majority of American doctors believe God or another supernatural being intervenes in patients' health, a study has found."
Something to consider.
UPDATE: From the Bob is awesome department: The Medical Directive and 5 Wishes.
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