Sunday, July 8, 2007

Woman denies disconnecting comatose son, 7, from respirator

Haaretz : By Roni Singer-Heruti

A mother was arrested yesterday on suspicion of attempting to disconnect a respirator from her comatose 7 -year-old son. She denied the accusation and was later released without being charged, but a judge ordered that she be accompanied by hospital security when she visits her son in the future.

'We have been going through agony for three and a half years, ever since our son was hospitalized at Sheba,' the mother told Haaretz, referring to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. 'The doctors have told us, 'let the boy die,' and since I don't do what the doctors tell me, they are fighting me.' ...

The mother, who is a doctor, told the police that she did not disconnect the respirator, and had merely been giving her son a massage. Police do not suspect her of trying to kill her son, but believe that she might have been attempting to treat him by methods different than those used by the hospital. ...

The mother's attorney, Amikam Hadar, who is representing her together with attorney Hedva Shapira, said that the boy's parents and the hospital staff have a very poor relationship.

He said that Sheba has asked the court to order the boy removed from the hospital, but the parents insist on first finding an alternative place that will treat him.

So this happens in Israel too, even with universal health coverage. This account cries out for fuller factual development.

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