Are Not, So Stop Using The Term

Dave Andrusko

In his post for the Catholic Phily, Richard Doerflinger calls new findings and recommendations from a prestigious group of medical organizations nothing short of “game-changing.”

Doerflinger, who worked for 36 years in the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is referring to new guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology, “developed along with other experts and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research” to the treatment of and understanding about people who for decades have been dismissively described as being in a “vegetative state.”

Doerflinger reminds us that as far back as 1983, Daniel Callahan, arguably the most significant bioethicist of the 20th Century, “said many of his colleagues were interested in withdrawing food and fluids from these helpless but medically stable patients because ‘a denial of nutrition may in the long run become the only effective way to make certain that a large number of biologically tenacious patients actually die.’”

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