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The Star: Striking ethical differences in medical cases

February 4, 2014 — 

The Toronto Star asked philosophy professor Arthur Schafer, director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the U of M, about a case in British Columbia wherein Dylan Benson’s wife, Robyn, has been kept alive artificially since a brain hemorrhage in December. Robyn is pregnant and Dylan is raising money to help him bring his son into the world.

The Star asked Schafer to discuss this case in light of one that recently unfolded in Texas: a hospital refused to take a brain-dead pregnant woman off life support, despite her family’s wishes.

Schafer told the newspaper there are “striking differences” between the Texas case and the Bensons’ situation. As The Star reports:

First, there’s the discrepancy in law: while more than two dozen U.S. states, including Texas, have rules about taking pregnant patients off life support, Canada does not.

In addition, the family’s wishes in the B.C. case align with the medical team’s plans.

“I don’t see it as ethically problematic in any way,” said Schafer. “Nor would it have been ethically problematic if for any reason (Benson had) said, ‘She’s dead. Take her out of the ICU.’”



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