Patterico's Pontifications


See-Dubya: Kill her quick, she’s moving (Good news update)

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 12:33 am

[Posted by See Dubya]

This is very bad:

A comatose girl beaten with a baseball bat is responding to medical stimuli, officials said Wednesday, a day after Massachusetts’ highest court ruled the state could take her off life support.

The state, which has custody, had asked that Haleigh Poutre’s ventilator and feeding tube be withdrawn after doctors said she was in an irreversible vegetative state.

Her alleged piece of dirt stepfather allegedly hit her with the bat. He is now in the interesting position of trying to keep her tubes in place, because if the state pulls the tube and she dies, he will be charged with her murder. But as the state is her guardian, the state (specifically the Massachusetts Department of Social Services) can ignore his wishes, finish the job he started of murdering Haleigh, and then throw him in jail for it.

It’s not that I’m decrying the rough justice against the stepfather, Jason Strickland. Hell, hang him up for a pinata.

But the state is acting as his accomplice.

This really frightens me. The state shouldn’t be pulling the tubes on eleven year old girls. Unlike the Schiavo case, not only has Haleigh not told anyone of her true wishes, but she legally can’t make these kind of decisions. There should be a presumption that people, that children, even brain-damaged orphans, ought to live.

But the social services bureaucrats in the State of Massachusetts have decided she must die, and they are preparing to take affirmative acts to carry that decision out.

If she dies, however, the state’s accomplice in her murder will not die. Massachusetts decided this year that murderers will not face the death penalty.

Keep Haleigh in your prayers. And keep America in your prayers.

H/t: Alarming News. Cross-posted at the Jawa Report.

— See Dubya

Good news UPDATE: This article in the Boston Globe, linked at Michelle Malkin’s post on the subject, states that DSS “has no immediate plans to remove her feeding tube”. I hope they do proceed with caution here. I also wonder at what point it would become illegal to remove the tube…if, for example, Haleigh should regain some consciousness, would the court ruling still enable the state to dehydrate her?

19 Responses to “See-Dubya: Kill her quick, she’s moving (Good news update)”

  1. […] See-Dubya is frightened: This really frightens me. The state shouldn’t be pulling the tubes on eleven year old girls. Unlike the Schiavo case, not only has Haleigh not told anyone of her true wishes, but she legally can’t make these kind of decisions. There should be a presumption that people, that children, even brain-damaged orphans, ought to live. […]

    Sierra Faith » Blog Archive » Massachusetts Kills Eleven Year Olds (e4b43b)

  2. If the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is her guardian, then the Commonwealth is paying for her continued care. It’s obvious that the Commonwealth has a vested interest in seeing her die, not only because it ups the ante on the charges against her “alleged piece of dirt stepfather,” but because her death will terminate the expenses the state is paying to keep her alive.

    The Rev Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things, has said that wherever undesirable behavior is not proscribed, it will eventually become prescribed. We’ve gone from prohibiting the killing of people, to it’s OK in some circumstances (especially if they haven’t succeeded in being born yet), to where it is in the state’s better interests that some people be killed.

    Dana (3e4784)

  3. I mourn for Haleigh and have done so since I first saw this some time ago. The pinata punishment! – sounds like making the punishment fit the crime, alright. Still, there must be some unsavory tasks to let him do for the rest of his time on this earth. Whatever.

    The chance that an 11-year old might rewire should not be abandoned so quickly, I would offer.

    However, I feel compelled to offer Dana a thought that may not come up otherwise. Health care, especially high end, ICU stuff with ventilators, etc., represent another application of the “zero sum game”.

    I hate it, and we can all hate it, but it is not just that Haleigh should or should not get that care. Sure she should. Everyone should. But EVERYone can NOT. It being a “zero sum game” means that for each SOMEone who receives it, by virtue of that person being in that very finite spot, someone ELSE will NOT be getting that care.

    So, say Haleigh receives it, and stays in it helplessly for a long period with no recovery. During the first six months of the period, Susan (a hypothetical 10 year old car accident victim) does not get it and dies. Then the care facilities were not there for Michael (a gifted student struck by hit and run drunk) who dies by the lack of care that Haleigh was getting. Next, it’s a brain-dead mother-to-be who dies w/o being able to bear the child she and her husband so wanted … because Haleigh was in that same bed …. Time passes, years, and the parade of non-inhabitants in that ICU slot grow.

    Unless we, as a society, make very high end health care so common that all can get it, it will always be about choices and luck. Next, what are the impacts on society of such a diversion of national resources? Maybe the only vehicles the nation could afford would be RR, buses, and emergency vehicles. Maybe we’d have to go to a national health care plan funded by a new 10% income tax surcharge. Mybe we’d have to turn all the National Parks over to developers for cash and to increase tax revenues. Maybe we’d have to … who knows? But the resources would be on a scale I have trouble quantifying beyond “vast.” There are something like 300,000,000 Americans and growing – how many ICU spots?

    Until then, it should never be just about who is in that ICU bed; it should also be about who is NOT there because it is already occupied.

    Get well, Haleigh! If anyone deserves a medical miracle, it’s you!

    jim (a9ab88)

  4. Once one state executes a person without a trial as Florida did it will spread and the requirements will become less (Or). Now Ma. has already made the decision to execute a child without trial, its just delayed because a Dr. ‘happened’ to tell the news she was showing some progress. Told everyone last year that the U.S. was now on a slippery (blood is slick) slope and picking up speed. Within 10 years there will be thousands of innocent people (non-criminals), what do they call it when the kill a dog at the pound, put to sleep.

    scrapiron (9f37aa)

  5. Jim, I think you have made a fundamental flaw in your basic assumption: health care is not a zero-sum game. Medicare and Medicaid and the other government health care programs have never been run that way. Rather, they are open-ended entitlements (with occasionaly cost-cutting measures like DRGs thrown in), where government attempts to guesstimate the yearly costs, and usually comes close, but the programs are simply not subject to restricted appropriations.

    Dana (3e4784)

  6. Dana –

    Sorry, but I disagree. First of all, the number of doctors is a finite number, the number of specialists fewer still. The number of hospital beds is finite, the number of ICU slots fewer still. The number of life-sustaining equipment sets is finite, those at the high end fewer still.

    Surely, you are not asserting that there exists an infinite number of any of the above? Or, perhaps, that the number approaches 300,000,000?

    Just because Medi-whatever is a government program no more changes the basic math than did the (possibly) urban legend state legislature succeed in making pi 22/7 within their fair state.

    jim (6482d8)

  7. “Unlike the Schiavo case, […] Haleigh [has] not told anyone of her true wishes”

    Terri’s “true wishes” were always–and at the very least–in grave doubt.

    clark smith (7ab241)

  8. Clark – that may be, but in this case there is zero ambiguity. Terri may or may not have told people her true wishes, depending on which side of the argument you believe; Haleigh clearly has not, and even if she had she isn’t old enough to make that decision.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  9. Agreed, Clark. I’m hoping to point out to those who were satisfied–I think in error–that Terri wanted to die that this is a different situation much furhter down the slippery slope.

    See Dubya (7d4ac4)

  10. Jim, you are right to point out that the number of beds is finite and that the number of physicians is also finite, but those are things which can be and are being expanded; it is still not a zero-sum game, and will not be until we reach the point, nationally (not just in an individual hospital, where it does occasionally happen), at which no one can be admitted until someone else is discharged.

    And if any state did legislatively determine the value of π to be 22/7, it was probably in Pennsylvania!

    Dana (3e4784)

  11. Dana –

    I am so sorry, but is ALWAYS a zero sum game when there is a finite number substantially less than the potential users. It’s math; it’s real world; and it’s just the way it is. The situation is oft blurred when the items are low end, such as when the care is not too much more than routine. For example, if we were talking of regular routine checkups, or maybe even routine trauma resources. This is ICU stuff, Dana. We’re talking brain wave monitors, 24/7/365 high level care, ventilators with backup on call ….

    I wish you were right, but I also want to visit Yellowstone and not as a condo-gigaplex. I also want to drive a car ….

    jim (a9ab88)

  12. To believe that it truly is a zero sum game, you must also believe that increasing doctor’s pay would not influence aspiring college students.

    Al (2e2489)

  13. The state may not kill an innocent.

    This is a crime against humanity. The state must instead do everything in its reasonable power to see to her well-being. Otherwise, we are all walking dead–not citizens, but chattle owned by a mob.

    Medrawt (2dec5c)

  14. Al –

    In the short run, your thought would not help, unless you think college freshmen are ready to step in like a horde of Doogie Howsers:

    It takes years to get to MDs.

    In the long run, your thought would simply shift the zero game somewhere else. Not enough nukes so burn more coal or have so many blackouts as to kill off folk that way. The coal smoke now puts more in the hospital anyway. Or, perhaps no one to fly jet airplanes, or maybe to design them. No physics nobels or even too few to advance nanotechnology, or maybe even to maintain what we have now.

    Your comment is analagous, IMHO, to saying that one can shelter forever under a stand of trees in a rainstorm w/o getting wet. After all, when the water finally drips down through the leaves of the tree you’re standing under, one can simply shift to stand under a different tree.

    No society can defeat a zero sum game in an area like ultra high end health care without massive sacrifices many other places. Without multiple breakthroughs in research in areas like aging and regeneration and nanotech – which by the way we’ll never get if everyone is huddled around ICU stadiums – what we call now ultra high end health services will always be a deep in a zero sum game.

    jim (a15b0f)

  15. Only the Sith speak of zero sum games.

    Know you of technology, not?

    Medrawt (21a5c0)

  16. Medrawt –

    No, all the would-be scientists and researchers are lined up as care-givers and equipment minders in the new ICU stadiums Dana and Al had built.

    Oh, and I’m still waiting for my flying car that pundits in my teens said would be there for all by 2000. Also, remember fusion? It’s ten years away, so they say, but they’ve been saying that same thing for over two decades.

    jim (6482d8)

  17. jim, flying cars and fusion were simply bad guesses by the so-called experts, who I’m sure you’d agree, almost always get it wrong when guessing about the future. I do see your broader point, though. I share only some of your pessimism. Health care may or may not be a “zero sum game” but it has clearly become very, very expensive and as my generation (baby boomers) retires, will become only more so. I don’t believe anyone can legitimately argue with the problem of increasing costs and demographics. Perhaps a bit beside the point though …

    Technology seems to have gone in directions we never could have guessed. Take the computer on which you are working, for example. Each of us has more computing power on our desk at home than the entire NASA space program probably did in 1969 when we went to the moon.

    I can now buy an 8GB miniturized hard drive that fits into the Compact Flash slot on my PDA, which itself has more computing power than did the lunar spacecraft that went to the moon in 1969.

    Designer drugs created by manipulating genetic materials are other examples.

    On a less serious note, as a pilot, and seeing what I see every day on my 32 mile commute to work, I’d have to say I’m pretty thankful the pundits were wrong, at least regarding flying cars. I can only imagine if the bozos I see on the roads were in the air … We’d be spending most of our time on the ground just trying to avoid the falling wreckage.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  18. Harry, fellow baby boomer –

    I totally agree that research can and likely will take technology in unexpected directions. Well, it will providing we continue to support research (including basic research and not just applied research) sufficiently with both dollars and fresh, new minds.

    However, if we rob the Peter of research to create the Paul of ICU stadiums, the breakthroughs and discoveries we so greatly need will be far, far less likely to happen. And, if they DO occur, it will be more likely that they will be elsewhere, in France, or Japan, etc.

    On fusion, et al, those unfulfilled (so far, I’ve yet to totally give up on my flying car!) predictions show best the need NOT to rob research and that the best chance for better health care is NOT to build Dana’s ICU stadiums but to work on new stuff (like nanobots, or something). It is the NOW that has the zero sum game of high end health care. I’ve yet to see any argument that would suggest that it is anything but that NOW. It seems to me that those who argue hottest that it is NOT a zero sum game do not really understand what one is well enough to recognize one. I confess to a math degree and an MBA, and I think it is one.

    jim (4fe0f4)

  19. If you would like to keep up-to-date on the Haleigh Poutre story, you can go to MassLive’s page dedicated to stories about the case, with links to the SJC decision as well as editorials and news stories. is Western Massachusetts’ premiere online source for news and entertainment.

    Kristen (e1c765)

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