CBC: ‘When making the worst decision is the best thing to do’


I have to admit that I don’t like the title of the post by Georgie Binks. I love his post (very insightful, thoughtful and provoking), but the title seems to encourage the labelling of decisions that are seen as controversial as being the worst decisions.

Then again, I also understand that in a way, choosing to end life support or treatment for your child can be the worst type of decision a parent can ever make, whatever the age of a child. The uncle of a friend of mine had to make such a choice a couple of years ago, when his daughter’s brain was massively injured in a car crash that killed her mother.

So maybe the best thing would have been to change the title of this post to: “When making the worst type decision is the best thing to do”. But that’s just me.

And in any case, it doesn’t take anything away from the quality of the article by Georgie Binks.

When making the worst decision is the best thing to do (published May 15th 2008)

Nearly 20 years ago, a father in Illinois took a gun into a hospital and disconnected his child from the life support system to which he was hooked up. The child was 16 months old. For half of his life, since he was eight months old and had swallowed a small object that had blocked his windpipe, he’d been comatose, kept alive by a ventilator. His father was arrested and charged with murder and subsequently convicted of assault. An officer with the Chicago Police Department, Sgt. William Rooney, told reporters at the time, “You can understand the motivation. I guess he didn’t want his child to continue living under those conditions.”

I remember feeling so sad for the father. What an excruciating decision to have to make, especially when most of us spend all of our waking hours trying to keep our kids alive and safe.

Rather than ever arguing with the medical community because we feel our kids are overtreated, many of us have experienced other problems – being treated like we’re mentally incompetent or have Munchausen’s by Proxy when we show up at their offices with a sick child. I still haven’t forgotten the doctor at a clinic who told me to go home and have a drink because I thought my son’s arm was broken. When I was able to get him to his regular doctor the next day and x-rayed (yes, it was broken) his nurse, a wonderful woman, told me, “I’ve never known a mother to be wrong.”

Read the rest of this great article here.

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