Twelve year old Motl Brody has died. A tumor destroyed his brain, and the consequences are unambiguous.
Unlike Terri Schiavo or Karen Ann Quinlan, who became the subjects of right-to-die battles when they suffered brain damage and became unconscious, Motl’s condition has deteriorated beyond a persistent vegetative state, his physicians say. His brain has died entirely, according to an affidavit filed by one of his doctors.
His eyes are fixed and dilated. His body neither moves nor responds to stimulation. His brain stem shows no electrical function, and his brain tissue has begun to decompose.
This is sad, but final…except for one little problem. The boy’s family belong to a sect of Hasidic Jews who cling to an archaic belief that life is determined by the presence of a beating heart, and this particular body is hooked up to drugs and machines that keep the tissue flailing away futilely, and so the parents are taking the hospital to court to keep prodding the corpse into this semblance of life.
There’s another weird twist to the story. The parents are not in denial. They know there is no hope at this point. They are sticking to their insistence that the hospital must tie up their facilities in this useless endeavor entirely because they must dogmatically follow their religion’s laws.
Jeffrey I. Zuckerman, the attorney for Motl’s parents, says they have been “utterly shattered” by the hospital’s actions.
He stressed that the family’s demand for continued life support was based on their obligations under religious law, not an unrealistic hope that their boy will recover.
In other words, they know their religious beliefs are invalid, but they’re going to abide by them, and damn the pain and grief and expense and waste. It’s zombie religion.