There are 2 news stories in the UK at the moment which on the surface may seem similar but are however being treated completely differently.
The first concerns a 22 year old sickle cell anaemia sufferer whom doctors had been informed they must allow die. He was a Jehovah Witness and it is therefore against his religion to accept a blood transfusion even though it would have probably saved his life. The doctors had to stand aside and allow him to die in agony knowing that they could have save him if they were allowed to intervene.
The other concerns Tony Nicklinson who suffers from an incurable disease known as “locked in syndrome”. He had a stroke seven years ago and is paralysed but with all his mental faculties intact. He is an Atheist and has made it clear (through his wife) that he wishes to be allowed to die with dignity rather than spend more years trapped in his own body. He says he does not think the moral objections of others should be used against his case. If he was in the same hospital as the Jehovah Witness and the same doctors ended his life then they could be prosecuted for murder.
While both cases are tragic it does show how religious views given special status over those of the secular world. I know we have had a few discussions on morality recently but where is it here? I think we should look to the Ethical view instead and leave the objective morality compass aside. Would it have been ethical to save the JW against his wishes? Would it not be the ethical thing to do and allow Tony to die with dignity?
Jehovah Witness story
Tony Nicklinson story