Elmer’s wife of 50 years, Wilma Beard, is requesting the hospital to remove her husband from the life support system and spare him the torture of living as a vegetable, recognizing no one and being given food by a pipe through his nose. She says that the comma has now persisted for three weeks, and there is no hope of Elmer recovering.
Wilma says that having spent 50 years married to him; she is much attached to Elmer and his pitiful condition is causing her a lot of misery. The internist attending to Elmer, Dr. James A. Duncan, does not agree with Wilma and will not remove Elmer from the respirator and let him die. Dr. Duncan has consulted two other specialists regarding the best decision to take, due to the sensitivity of the case. These two, neurologist Morris, D, Lampert and lung man Leopoldo Lapuerta, agree with Dr. Duncan that it would be professionally wrong to remove Elmer from the respirator. Thus, Dr. Duncan has stuck to his decision to keep Elmer alive with the life support system.
Wilma Beard’s demand to Dr. Duncan is morally wrong. First of all, Dr. Duncan still has hope that Elmer Beard might recover. Removing Elmer from the respirator would be murder since according to the internist; Elmer has a fleeting chance of recovering from the coma. The fact that there is a possibility for recovery means that Elmer might be able to make the decision himself if he recovers from the comma. The three doctors, Duncan, Lampert, and Lapuerta, are not sure whether Elmer will be able to communicate to some degree if he recovers or not. Therefore, they believe that the most conducive measure is to wait and see. The six weeks during which Elmer has been in the comma is too short a period to conclude that the comma will last indefinitely. Wilma has to be more patient and give the condition more time to see if there will be a change.
Objection (1): Elmer Beard’s situation is hopeless. Even if there is some chance of him recovering, he is still