Friday, October 15, 2004

More on brain-dead patient in Salt Lake City.

There were two follow-up articles in the Salt Lake Tribune today about Jesse Koochin, the 6-year-old patient whose parents, Gayle and Steve, reject his physicians' diagnosis of death. The ethics of treating brain-dead patients are discussed here, and the factual developments in the case are described here.

According to the article, "on Thursday, Gayle and Steve Koochin were frantically trying to make arrangements to take Jesse to the family's temporary Salt Lake City home, where his care will be supervised by Gary Holland, Hospice for Utah's medical director, and a hospice nurse. He could be moved as soon as today."

Not to appear insensitive to the suffering of these parents, but this is as much a perversion of hospice care as continued ventilation is a perversion of intensive care. The poor kid died earlier this week, and his body has started to decompose, even as ventilator support has been continued. (See article below.) He doesn't deserve (mis)treatment. He deserves the respect of a decent burial. To continue to treat him under these circumstances gives his parents false hope and mistreats Jesse's remains.
posted by tommayo, 9:11 AM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter