Monday, March 21, 2005

Quality of Life

It seems as though the Schiavo case has taken on a life of its own. From newspapers claiming that death by starvation is not painful (really? Logic would argue otherwise, but then again, who is little blogger me to question the mighty reporters?), arguments for a "right to die," and other sundry and strange suggestions. It all comes down to not having a living will, and determining someone else's quality of life for them. Quality of life is a funny thing - for some people, it is working in high-paying jobs and affording every luxury available. While some prefer a quiet lifestyle of small intimacies and warm environments. Others prefer a life of crime and misbehavior, while some like the life of the unemployed. There are those who have no choice, having been born brain-damaged or physically deformed, and for them - what is their quality of life and who is to decide it for them? This argument comes into play with the discussions on terminating pregnancies of babies who appear to be malformed or damaged, or, in our Singer-esque discussions, terminating the lives of individuals after they have left the womb because of their perceived quality of life, or lack thereof. Who makes the choice? What level of life, what quality, determines it for others? Would you want your quality of life determined by Donald Trump? (I doubt many of us would pass.) I don't know the answer to the question. I am not going to pretend that I do. I know this however: life is a precious gift, that no one can ever give back to you. If I could stand outside my comatose body and know that down the road, I would have a possibility of returning to normal functioning, I would certainly want to be left on life-support - or nutrition, in this case. If I knew my life would encompass brain damage and less-than-average brain function, perhaps I wouldn't want to live. I need to consider this longer in order to come to a decision. Nonetheless, I stand by my original thoughts. It is better to err on the side of life, then to take something from someone which you can never replace.