Revisiting "People Control"
August 1, 2017 | View PDF
In our fallen world, there is certainly no shortage of heartbreaking stories, yet the one that will not leave my mind right now is one from the United Kingdom pertaining to the medical and legal issues facing the 11-month old infant Charlie Gard and his parents.
As a parent and a grandparent, I grieve with these parents for the shattered dreams for their child due to the diagnosis of his very rare genetic condition and apparent terminal prognosis for his life. Based on all I have read, Charlie’s condition is extremely complicated and his doctors in Great Britain offer little hope for viable treatment, thus recommending that current life-support treatment be removed and that little Charlie be allowed to “die with dignity” in the hospital. His parents disagreed and appealed to the legal courts to prevent the hospital from ending his current treatment which includes a ventilator and feeding tube. Due to the structure of the public healthcare system in Britain, the courts ruled in favor of the hospital and the now the plight of Charlie Gard has become international news.
In making its case to the courts, the Great Ormond Street Hospital stated:
“Although Charlie’s parents have parental responsibility, overriding control is by law vested in the court exercising its independent and objective judgment in the child’s best interests.” [Emphasis mine]
As Americans who are currently dealing with the administrative nightmare and escalating costs of our own healthcare system known now as Obamacare, that statement should scare the life out of each and every one of us.
The difficult decisions facing this young couple pertaining to the future of their son are ones that no parent ever wants to experience, but regardless of the hard choices that they make regarding Charlie’s care, those decisions in a free society should be theirs and theirs alone to make, not handed down from the legal system or an administrative state.
Like many of you, I’ve had to face those decisions resulting from a terminal cancer prognosis for a spouse, and they are without a doubt the hardest choices I’ve ever had to make for a loved one. Tough decisions had to be made as to the alternatives of additional invasive and experimental treatment, and how that treatment would impact his quality of life. While none of the choices would provide even a glimmer of hope for a cure, which choice was best for him and our family? Through it all, I sought the counsel of his doctors as well as spiritual guidance for the decisions I had to make, but never was I faced with the threat of my government removing those choices from me or making them for me. But that’s where Charlie Gard’s parents find themselves, and as Obamacare continues to grow and expand, I fear that’s the predicament Americans will soon face.
In our September 2013 issue, I wrote a piece titled People Control that explained why I was so opposed to big government, whether imposed by those on the right or the left of the political spectrum. As I’ve watched the spectacle going on in Washington, DC these days with the failure of the GOP-controlled Congress to fulfill campaign promises of the past seven years as it relates to healthcare, it occurred to me that their promises had far more to do with “people control” of our votes and the resultant power of winning office than the desire to actually solve the serious issues of our healthcare system. How else can I view the continued hesitancy to correct the disaster of Obamacare even as premiums continue to skyrocket and providers exit the markets? We’re reminded almost daily of the inefficiencies and lack of quality care our veterans face with the VA (government) system, so why would those we elect think that a path towards a government-run healthcare structure for all would be in the best interests of our citizens and our nation?
Charlie Gard’s case certainly isn’t the first time that courts have entered into medical decisions, nor will his be the last, but this one is raising international alarm because courts have now deemed that a healthcare system supersedes God-given parental rights - the rights of the parents to take their baby elsewhere for experimental treatment, or even home to die in peace.
Is this possibly a glimpse of the healthcare system awaiting America?
Bilefsky, Dan and Chan, Sewell. “Dispute Over British Baby’s Fate Draws In Pope and U.S. President.” The New York Times, Web July 3, 2017.
Marcia Chambliss has been involved in grassroots conservative politics since 2009 and has contributed opinion articles pertaining to politics and cultural issues to The Alabama Gazette since 2010.