Ronald Bailey Opposes Brain-Dead Paternalism


Brain Death

In California this past December, due to a rare complication from a tonsillectomy performed to relieve her sleep apnea, 13-year-old Jahi McMath experienced massive bleeding. She was placed on a ventilator, and her physicians declared her brain-dead three days later. In Texas in November, 33-year-old Marlise Munoz, collapsed onto her kitchen floor. Her husband found her about an hour later, and she too is now brain-dead and on a ventilator. In both cases, state officials want to override the wishes of the next of kin with regard to how the patients should be treated. With regard to these two sad cases, Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey argues against the intrusion of the government or the interference of paternalistic physicians.