There are a lot of outrageous things going on in the name of health
care across the world. We learn to tolerate (if barely) the spreading
of ideologies and the morphing of language while we work to change laws
and hearts and minds to recognize the dignity of human beings.
This story at first sounds like one more of these cases. But it somehow goes further…
The nine-month-old, known as “Baby OT”, had a rare metabolic disorder and had brain damage and respiratory failure.
His parents had appealed against a ruling at London’s High Court
that it was in the boy’s best interests to withdraw “life-sustaining
The British Medical Association (BMA) supported the doctors’ actions, as did some Christian groups.
Baby OT was unable to breathe by himself and died at 1008 GMT after doctors withdrew his treatment.
A medical decision, but arrived at with this thinking:
Doctors treating him had said the boy’s life was intolerable and his disability was such that his life had little purpose.
No one has the right to say a person’s life has little purpose. No matter what.
Purpose is not a medical diagnosis. Medical specialists are charged
with making medical decisions about the body’s condition and options
for treatment. They are not qualified, entitled or morally permitted to
render judgment about the purpose of the human being inhabiting the
Out of this tragedy came the triumph of unyielding love.
His parents said they were “deeply distressed” by the decision and said the life of their “beautiful boy” was worth preserving.
What a message for the culture that considers impaired human beings
to be burdens, those who see suffering as an evil to avoid, at all
The couple said through their solicitor after the death
was announced: “During his short time with us, OT became the focus of
our lives. We were present during his last moments, together with [his]
“He died peacefully. We will miss him greatly and wish to say that
we are proud to have known our beautiful son for his brief life.”
The statement of saints comes to mind: Love is stronger than death.
And the purpose of every human life is more transcendent than any doctor can define, and more than some can grasp.