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Re: <nettime> The Vegetative Prince Will Not Wake Up: Dutch Prince Friso
Murray Simpson on Tue, 28 Aug 2012 15:18:17 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> The Vegetative Prince Will Not Wake Up: Dutch Prince Friso medical ethics and the ordeal of social inequality

The transfer to a UK hospital may pose legal problems, as procedures for ?ending life? in cases where there is no more chance of recovery is problematic in the UK ? as we know of a recent case of a man that sought help for ending his life that had no future ? and the formal refusal of a British court to allow ?euthanasia? in his case.

-There is something problematic (because untrue) about the statement that in the recent case in the UK of Tony Nicklinson that his 'life had no future'.  Actually his life did a future - to watch his children grow, to see future generations, to appreciate art, or whatever.  Now, it may be (and indeed was) the case that, set against the downsides of his condition, Tony Nicklinson decided it was a future he'd rather not have, but for it would be wrong to dismiss the lives of people with locked in syndrome as having no future.  Tony Nicklinson was in a minority.  Most people with this condition do not actually want to die, even if you think they should.

There are hardly any examples of people in PVS that regain consciousness, and even less that have any chance to function again as a human. Younger people stand statistically a bit more chance than middle age people like Prince Friso. In most cases ?economics? (the extreme high costs of keeping someone in such a permanent vegetative state) form the decisive argument for halting such treatment in a specialised medical ward.

-Can you tell us what 'function as a human' means please.

The bereavement process of the family must have been frustrated and one wonders why the wife of Prince Friso has not had the courage to, or has been kept from, ending this ?high tech? medical ordeal.

-For whom is this an 'ordeal'?  I don't understand where this argument is going.

One hopes that Dutch Queen Beatrix who is used to control family affairs with an iron hand, will come to see that her hand is not the hand of God when she orders to pull the plugs out. It is time ? also for a prince ? to die.

-so that we can happily start killing other people too, right?

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not just giving a kind of knee-jerk 'fascist' reaction.  I think Agamben has more to contribute here.  I don't see how the 'switch em off' approach is going to help resolve the ethical issues if, as Agamben argues, we are all reduced to the condition of bare life, and the state of exception is actually the norm.


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