What makes a Life?

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1966

Racing around the blogosphere this week has been a story about a little girl named Amelia, and a torturous meeting her parents had with the Drs at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia about a kidney transplant their daughter might need in the future. All did not go as well as expected and the parents were basically told that because of "mental retardation" Amelia would not be eligible for a transplant! You can read more about her story and the meeting here:

If this angers you as much as it does me then you can sign the petition calling for CHOP to reconsider their decision about the transplant.

How can one of the largest children's hospitals in the country show a blatant display of discrimination against individuals with cognitive disabilities. What makes a life worth saving? Does having a cognitive disability lessen your right to live? I think not! How can one quantify a good life, a purposeful life? When i read Amelia's story all i could think about was "there but for he grace of God go i" How dare a panel of drs presume that a child's quality of life is not enough. My son lives a full life, is it less important than another child's because he may be diagnosed with a cognitive impairment later in life. If i know one thing its that Ryan is meant to be here, he fought extraordinary odds to be here and fights to live in a world that is incredibly difficult for him every single day. He leads a full life, maybe fuller than most 3 year olds, he rides horses, travels, swims, plays with his dog, brings joy to all who meet him. He in many ways is just like a typical child and just as loved! Would drs on a panel say that he is not deemed worthy? I shudder at the thought! I pray the worth of my beautiful boy will never be questioned.

In honor of Martin Luther King day here are some words that are as valid now as when they were spoken in 1963.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."" MLK, 1963


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