While a family is fighting for the right to care for their sick child In Canada, here in America a family has been removed from making medical decisions for their mother. After a stroke left her severely brain damaged, Rachel Nyirahabiyambere, a legal immigrant from Rwanda, has been given a court-appointed guardian who has ordered her feeding tube removed against her family’s wishes. From the story (h/t Wesley Smith):
On Feb. 19, Ms. Nyirahabiyambere’s feeding tube was removed on the order of her court-appointed guardian. Her six adult children — including two United States citizens — vehemently opposed that decision. But they were helpless to block it when Georgetown University Medical Center, frustrated in its efforts to discharge Ms. Nyirahabiyambere after she had spent eight costly months there without insurance, sought a guardian to make decisions that the family would not make.
“Now we are powerless spectators, just watching our mother die,” said Mr. Ndayishimiye, 33, who teaches health information management at the State University of New York’s Institute of Technology in Utica. “In our culture, we would never sentence a person to die from hunger.”
In emails to their mother’s guardian, Nyirahbiyambere’s sons say that they are fine with “do not hospitalize”/”do not resuscitate” orders, but insist that their mother would not want her feeding tube removed. Said one son:
“Ending someone’s life by hunger is morally wrong and unrecognized in the culture of the people of Rwanda”
to which Mrs. Sloan had the audacity to respond:
“You have asked for understanding about your culture and that is exactly what I am trying to do. Feeding tubes are not part of your culture, are they?”
So, the United States should treat every immigrant the same way he or she would be treated in their native country? That’s the standard for healthcare in America? Unbelievable. And this woman calls herself a nurse??
According to the article, Sloan insists that the issue with the feeding tube essentially has nothing to do with insurance and money, but later admits that her client’s life is ultimately just not worth the cost of keeping her alive:
“Hospitals cannot afford to allow families the time to work through their grieving process by allowing the relatives to remain hospitalized until the family reaches the acceptance stage, if that ever happens…Generically speaking, what gives any one family or person the right to control so many scarce health care resources in a situation where the prognosis is poor, and to the detriment of others who may actually benefit from them?”
Does anyone else find it tragically ironic that, after escaping genocide and hunger in her native land, this woman is now being starved to death in the country she fled to for freedom? As of late Thursday afternoon last week, Ms. Nyirahabiyambere was still alive – almost two weeks after the feeding tube was removed.
Oh, and, by the way, this is being done at a self-described Catholic hospital.
Again – Awful. Awful. Awful.