Thursday, May 13, 2010

Utah pandemic guidelines exclude some disabled children

Utah guidelines for who gets admitted to hospital or transferred to critical care during an influenza pandemic exclude children with chromosome disorders like Trisomy 13 and 18; spinal muscular atrophy; and progressive neuromuscular conditions such as muscular dystrophy "with inability to sit unaided or ambulate when such abilities would be developmentally appropriate based on age."

"Physician Norman Foster agrees it is reasonable to allocate scarce care based on a person's underlying cognitive abilities," according to this Salt Lake Tribune article, which includes comment from the mother of a 10-year old daughter with Trisomy 18.

The Utah guidelines evoke some of the same concerns raised in this recent BLOOM guest blog by Dr. Dick Sobsey.


Whether one suffers from a handicap, terminal illness or old age, disability escapes no one. Moreover, a nation, and humanity as a whole, can and should be judged by the treatment of minority groups, or those most vulnerable, in times of great social unrest or global disaster. In addition, was it not Rousseau who wrote, "The autonomy of the state can be upheld through the granting of individual freedoms and a just social contract?" Therefore, every person, has a duty by law, to never obtain or use absolute power, as they bare a collective responsibility to find a balance between the autonomy of the state and each individual. Furthermore, whether one considers themselves to be a person of science or faith, we can all agree on one universal truth: "We are only strong for a short while so we can help each other."

Keep the coming Louse, and thanks for making me think.

Matt Kamaratakis

Outrageous. I wonder if these "laws" have ever actually been put into practice or whether they are more like sodomy laws (outlawed in Georgia, I believe).

I think what they speak to, though, is all the work yet to be done about persons with disabilities and their integrity. I think it was heartening that the Ashley Treatment was declared unconstitutional this week.

This is terrible. Everyone should be treated as equals. People should not be treated differently for having a mental disability, if anything they should be helped more. Children are naive and don't know how the world works and children with disabilities are less likely to understand. Everyone should be loved and looked after no matter their cognitive abilities. I will write my final essay on the treatment of children with disabilities. Thanks for this blog.