Undertaker's Daughter

My life and death as spiritual path.

Location: River City, Northern California

Friday, March 25, 2005


If he does, I offer this essay to him for consideration.

2 pm Tuesday March 15th, Sun Hudson's ventilator was removed. He took a few more breaths from his tiny lungs and died in his mother's arms. He was not quite six months old. I can not tell you if he moved and responded as his mother reported because the hospital refused to allow any media to film Wanda Hudson's child's condition. Unlike Terri Schiavo who has had the benefit of hours of video reportage, and 15 years of medical effort to keep her alive though quite possibly far from any hope of conscious life, as she has no cerebral cortex left, Sun with a fully functioning cortex and no hint of being brain dead was given less than 6 months and then, his treatment was summarily ended.

By the hospital's orders.

Against his mother's wishes.

She says he wiggled, his eyes were open and he smacked his lips. The hospital says he was motionless and sedated for comfort-- they do not, in this article mention if he was comatose. We have no evidence one way or the other.

His single mom is not a model of sanity. [for link, scroll down to the middle of March 23rd post] She claims her child's father is the Sun-- yes, that one up in the sky and what better parent for a poor black child, a father who will never go away or die, will always shine down on this little precious scrap of life. It's not a bad dream, actually. But, you know, crazy or not, she wanted her baby to live out his shortened life. His condition was most probably terminal, a kind of dwarfism in which the lungs cannot grow sufficiently to support life. But, you see, so far this child was alive with the assistance of the respirator, aware of his surroundings when not sedated, and he had the potential to grow and develop at least a while longer. Potentials Terri Schiavo does not have after 15 years of extraordinary efforts to maintain life. What he does not have is Terri's smile we see plastered all over the papers and online magazines. The smile that comes and goes at random, whether anyone is in the room or not.

Sun couldn't smile on the respirator, his head was too big, his arms and legs were too short. He was not photogenic.

He would have been allowed to continue on the ventilator if his mother could have found another hospital to take him, in his unstable condition-- he could not have been unhooked from the ventilator. May I add, hospitals just don't transfer children or, for that matter, any patient in that condition. It's a lose/lose situation. "For a poor patient with little or no insurance, this is, in essence, a death sentence." Jesse Kornbluth, swami uptown

Wanda had all of ten days to find such a hospital. With help, she found 40. They all turned her down.
What I want to know is-- if the child was terminal anyway, why couldn't the normal state of affairs be allowed to play out? At least the doctors could have waited until the boy was indeed comatose.
I will not make this a political matter because this is not a political blog, we have more than our fair share of those.

I only want, on this Good Friday, where the Sun, baby Hudson's only known father, is brightly shining on a day honored by Christians all over this world-- while the death of Jesus Christ is mourned, may we also shed a tear for Sun Hudson, who died, quite possibly, because he was too poor and too black with a mother that was too crazy. And no congressman rose up to make speeches about him, no special bills were passed in his benefit, no churches sent him money to live a few days or months longer.

This is the first time in US history, a judge "has allowed a hospital to discontinue an infant's life-sustaining care against a parent's wishes." I wish I could believe it would be the last.
For all the obvious anger bubbling under the surface of this post, none of it is directed towards the souls genuinely suffering in this horrible dilemma. On this Good Friday, I pray for Terri Schiavo and Sun Hudson, both of whom I am sure are safe now in the arms of a god more merciful than we can even imagine, for whom the mere impediment of medical machinery is no barrier at all. I pray for their families, for they need it, be they mad, sad or bad, I have no way of knowing which is true. I also pray, in spite of my anger, for the motives of those who have intruded into these private tragedies with their own agendas. May their hearts open to what they are doing.
If you do not have a Living Will and Medical Durable Power of Attorney drawn up yet-- please, do it. Do it now. I have. And then pray that when and if you ever need its protective powers, your country will still allow you to have them. For the record, I would have allowed Sun, if he were my child, to be released from extraordinary methods of sustaining life, the moment he appeared to be suffering any pain or discomfort in his terminal condition. I would also-- against my own preferences-- have fought like a demon to let his mother have the final say on her son's final moments. Because final is just that-- Final.


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