Sunday, December 17, 2006


Notwithstanding the reverence and false dignity we’re supposed to apply to the situation, death is a messy biological process. Those who have watched an elderly person slowly shut down will enjoy today’s article in the Washington Post about pacemakers that refuse to let a patient’s heart stop.

The whole DNR thing is heavy enough, ordering medical staff not to resuscitate a patient who has stopped breathing. Apparently, if a patient has a pacemaker, the family has to take positive action to get the pacemaker turned off.

With advances in medicine and in litigeousness, patients will soon need permission to die. The science of saving lives becomes the science of extended torture.

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