Letter to the Editor
June 4, 2001
EDITOR: We would like to speak on behalf of Robert Wendland, the man who sustained a severe brain injury, came out of coma, but is only partially "aware."
In response to the arguments for why his life must be taken, we offer the following insights into why his life must be spared.
1. In California people are not allowed to commit suicide, so why should a third party, even a person's wife, be allowed to "help" that person commit suicide?
2. A man is more than his conscious state.
3. They say that he has bitten a nurse recently. That shows conscious thought. This is one of the only ways this man is communicating.
4. A society is judged by the way it treats its weakest members.
5. In Nazi Germany, SS men stood at the trains and chose who lived and who died. People were ordered to the left or the right, one way signifying death and the other life. Are we going to allow black robes to replace swastikas? How demeaning for our respected judiciary.
6. Medical science is going to have a breakthrough. Neuron regeneration in the brain is coming, and in our lifetime.
7. How could anyone allow the mother of this man to be mentally tortured? She is fighting for his life. If she loses the fight, she is going to know her son is being intentionally starved and dehydrated to death.
8. The wife and kids who want withdrawal of life support cannot have closure this way. The man they knew is gone, but this new man is here. To kill him is not to take his humanity away, only the killers' humanity away.
9. If given a choice between life and death, choose life.
President, Brain Injury Network
and brain injury survivor