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Baby Joseph Dies in the Arms of the Culture of Life | News Grab Articles
Baby Joseph Dies in the Arms of the Culture of Life PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 30 September 2011 22:45

Baby Joseph died Tuesday of this week as reported by the CBC in Canada.  Baby Joseph was at the center of an ethical controversy in Canada when Doctors and a Canadian Hospital refused a life saving treatment that would have allowed Baby Joseph to go home with his parents to spend the remaining days of his life.  In response the parents turned to Priests for Life who flew Baby Joseph to Cardinal Glennon hospital in St. Louis to have the procedure performed that would allow the baby to go home.  He died at home with his parents in Canada.  Brother Paul O'Donnell, a Franciscan Priest close to Baby Joseph's family had this to say:

I've seen him the last six [to] seven months being surrounded by love, being cared for at his home. We'll never know on this earth how much it meant for that child, but I can tell you this, it meant the world to the parents to be able to love their child as long as that child was here on earth.

The Canadian health care system failed to recognize the positive impact an ethic of love can have on family life and society.  In this case futile care type thinking led Canadian health care to choose financial expediency over the loving embrace of a mother and father; they chose their own ideas of beneficence in medical care over the values of the parents.  Baby Joseph deserved a home with loving parents to spend his short life.  The abstract and objectivist concerns of the doctors and hospital has no place in the family's decision making process.  The family was not asking the doctors to perform a procedure that violates their hypocratic oath or creates such harm that the baby's existence is marked mostly by pain and suffering.  The Canadian doctor's calculation was a utilitarian one regarding the use of resources for medical treatment that they deem is not medically necessary.  Its a calculation that one might expect from a national health care system ruled by utilitarian thinking and devoid of interest in virtue and culture.

Wesley Smith has addressed this issue by highlighting Peter Singer's article in the NY Daily News on the decision of Baby Joseph's parents to transfer the baby to St. Louis.  Singer's basic argument is that the cost of transferring Baby Joseph for over $150,000 is wasted on a child that can not live a long and happy life.  This money could have gone to vaccinations in developing countries and saved over 150 lives for the same amount of money.  When considering Singers argument keep in mind that he supports the killing of severely disabled babies.  Wesley Smith has harsh words for Singer's argument:

So, we see the real utilitarian agenda here.  And we see the hollowness of Singer’s “preference” approach to utilitarian decision making.  It isn’t parental empowerment.  It isn’t family intimate decision making.  Their “preferences” don’t matter in a futile care imposition.  In other words, the consistent through line of Singer’s approaches is the death of disabled infants.  We don’t have to choose between caring for profoundly disabled individuals and helping children who can lead “healthy, happy lives.”  In fact, such thinking reveals the profoundly bigoted heart that lurks within the passive prose of Singer’s utilitarian advocacy.

Baby Joseph's death in the arms of the culture of life is a truly beautiful reality.  The arguments of health care utilitarians  are specious, applying concepts to the service of advocating for a universal health care system at the expense of beauty and love of family.  Love is a dynamic reality, a movement of beauty that should inform ethical decision making.


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