Sunday, May 17, 2009

Who Speaks for the Disabled?

What constitutes an acceptable life to a disabled person? Why is this question important?

The answer may provide an understanding and basis for the many very important and also seemingly trivial decisions which must be made by and for that person. The decisions could involve medical procedures and treatments, education, employment, self-care and independence, marriage and parenthood amongst many other issues including the relationship to society and the world around that disabled person.

So, who should set the criteria for the individual’s quality of life except the disabled individuals themselves? If the individual cannot communicate because of age, alteration of consciousness or other brain disorder, how should a decision be made about what should be understood as an acceptable quality of life for this individual? Will what is acceptable in one case be identical to what is acceptable in another case? And who should make this decision?

Read it all at Bioethics Discussion Blog.

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