About a month ago I wrote a little thing here called “Covering the Cost”. I was about an infant boy, Joseph Maraachli and his family.
Now most of the world doesn’t know anything about little Joseph and his Mom and Dad, so I’ll summarize. He was in a hospital in Toronto, Canada. He was born with a “genetic disorder”, something called “Leigh’s Syndrome, I think and he was going to die…soon. He had been in the hospital for a while, some several months.
Turns out that the hospital folks were getting tired of having him around. The little lump was taking up space, or something. Besides, his mother and father and who knows how many other relatives were always in the way. Parents. Families. Sigh. What are you gonna do with them.
Up in Canada they have what they call the Consent and Capacity Board. I suppose it has something to do with how many folks are in hospitals and how many they want to stay there. If you give your consent they’ll send you home. If you don’t give your consent, they won’t keep you; there’ll be no capacity left. I remember a deal like that about 2,000 years ago. But I can understand their way of thinking. Less people to take care of means more money in the bank, less wear and tear on doctors, nurses, sheets and pilowcases and tongue depressors.
Sooo? So, little Joe, say his doctors, ain’t getting better. As a matter of fact he’s never going to get better. What’s he doing taking up space? The C&C guys are probably getting up and noticing, checking bed sheets and bottom lines. Joe, on tubes and what nots to breath can’t stay, they say. Do something? The Docs decide to turn off the power and let Joe ease on outa here. The C&C guys and girls, who really run the show, are happy.
Mom and Dad, who know a thing or two about dying since Joe’s older sister went the same way, want to take him home so he can die there. Do the Docs say, “Be our guest?” Nope. They want Joe to stay and die where he was born. Are they that attached? Nope.
You see, in order for Joe to last long enough on his own after the power’s cut, they have to give him a tracheotomy. And well, it seems they don’t have enough capacity, or whatever, to consent to doing that in Canadian hospitals; moral capacity, ethical capacity, compassionate capacity. You give it a name.
Does every MD in Canada have a degree from the Grinch College of Medicine?
And, there the matter rested when we left them, Dear Reader. Joe waiting, since he couldn’t do much of anything. Mom and Dad wondering if the hospital would let go of him because they wanted to take him to these Untied States where someone with a heart would do the right thing.
Sure enough, some Catholic Priest; yeah, one of that scurrilous group, shows up and Joe is medevacked down to St. Louis where the operation is performed. To top it all off, he was baptized a Catholic. The doctor who did the operation was happy that happened. He even suggested it to the child’s parents. Joe’s own father, a Muslim, went along with it, saying he wanted his son to be brought up in the faith of his mother.
The Docs up in Canada, and the members of the Consent and capacity Board were not asked about that. I wonder what they would have said. Not much, I suppose. You have to have a heart to understand things like that.
PS: I’ll give you odds this story about Joe getting to go home to die, and being baptized does not show up on the 6 and 10. Why? ‘Cause the story has heart, and heart ain’t news.