Here's a disturbing story, one that is still in play and where those of you Christians out there might perhaps still make a difference by prayer.
16-year-old Javona Peters suffered severe brain damage when she had an allergic reaction to the anesthetic during what should have been relatively minor surgery. Though this all happened only two months ago, doctors are saying she is in a "persistent vegetative state." Her mother wants to remove her feeding tube (which the story calls "pulling the plug"--a highly misleading phrase) so that she will dehydrate to death and the mother can get on with suing the hospital. (The story also uses the demeaning phrase "ending what is left of her life.")
Until a few days ago, her father was adamantly opposed to any such thing, saying, admirably, "I don't give life and I cannot take a life." Her parents are estranged, and her father has custody. A court hearing is scheduled for January 7. I gather that this is a custody hearing; the mother hopes to get custody so she can authorize Javona's death by dehydration.
But now the doctors are saying they can do no more for her and that she should be moved to a permanent nursing facility. Someone has been pressuring Dad, and he is becoming confused, despite his original clear-sightedness. Now he says that he "doesn't see the point now" if "nothing is working." Of course, if the feeding tube weren't "working," she would already be dead. Food and water do not cure; they provide nutrition and hydration so you don't die. It's that simple. "The point" of feeding the child was and is the point of feeding any child. And since when is the point of feeding your child the hope of increasing her brain-power and other abilities? But Javona's father says he needs to talk to his lawyer.
Not that I'm inclined to be too harsh on him. How many people are working their hardest to mess with his head on this one? They are no doubt using all the euphemisms--"letting her go," and all the rest--and implying to him that he is cruel, irresponsible, and just plain wrong, wrong, wrong for keeping her fed. It is entirely possible that those who have pushed and bullied him on this one will face a harsher judgement than he does, in the long run. (Wesley Smith has reported before on the bullying of family members who want to retain nutrition and hydration for their loved ones, so I consider it very plausible Mr. Peters has experienced this.)
Wesley J. Smith has reported on this story, and he emphasizes the hastiness of the PVS diagnosis. Medically speaking, he is quite right. But I want to point out what I'm sure WJS would agree with--that it really should not and does not matter. Even if you were certain that your child would remain permanently unable to "move, think, or eat on her own" (as the reporter so dramatically puts it), that would not justify removing her water for ten days to two weeks so that she would dry up and die.
So let us pray for Javona and her dad.