I Am Asked About the Lauren Richardson Case
Wesley, What's your take on the Lauren Richardson case in Delaware? Can you get involved to protect the life of this young woman?Lauren Richardson, for those who may not know, is a young woman diagnosed to be persistently unconscious whose parents are fighting in court over who should be named her guardian. How the court decides that question is literally a matter of life and death. Her mother wants to pull her feeding tube, her father does not. Here's the tragic story.
James. I have received several inquiries such as yours. It is a reasonable question that breaks my heart and deserves a bluntly honest answer: I am at a loss to know what I can do. I haven't been called to help and it is not my way to interpose myself into these gut wrenching situations. A blog entry isn't going to matter, nor sending ten articles to the New York Times--which wouldn't be published anyway. Dehydrating the cognitively devastated is a ubiquitous practice in US hospitals and nursing homes. It isn't even controversial unless, as in this case and a few others such as Terri Schiavo and Robert Wendland, there is a family division and someone kicks up a fuss. Usually, families go along and no one is the wiser.
Let me repeat this sickening fact: The dehydration of people who are elderly stroke or dementia patients, people of all ages with brain injuries, and others with profound cognitive incapacities who require feeding tubes goes on ALL THE TIME in ALL FIFTY STATES to people who are both CONSCIOUS AND UNCONSCIOUS. And society generally applauds.
Like I said: What can I do? But I appreciate very much the love in the hearts of everyone who contacted me about Lauren and my deepest respect to all who care so profoundly about the life of a tragically injured young woman whom they have never met.