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March 28, 1976 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-03-28

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Sunday, March 28, 1976


Page Five'

Life andeatcommitteedeterminespatient statu


(Continued from page 3
But there is a limit to how
much a doctor can do for a pa-
tient. Sometimes, doctors decide
to withhold treatment when the
chances are slim that it will do
any good and may actually be
"You can't really put your
finger on a moment when a de-
cision is made to let a patient
die," Saper says. "The doctor
and the family decide what
should be done to help the pa-.
tient. All the doctor can do is,
for example, say, 'Look, there's
an 80 per cent risk that the sur-
gery won't be successful.' Or

with a patient with a tumor you
could say, 'There's not much,
chance that the surgery will'
prevent the tumor from coming
back, but maybe without an op-
eration he'll live for six
"J HAVE TO consider my res-
ponsibility to the patient,"
he says. "Am I killing him by
using a treatment with a small
chance of doing any good and a
good chance of doing harm?
"There can be no regular pol-
icy for deciding that," Saper
adds. "The procedure is no dif-
ferent than that for minor prob-

lems. If you have a wart on
your leg and it's benign, maybe
we'll decide that since there's
no risk we'll leave it alone in-
stead of going through the pro-
cess of removing it, which may
prove a risk."
There are some comatose pa-
tients-like the famous Karen
Quinlan-who hover near death
but show flickers of life, such as
mild EEG activity.
They generally die after a
relatively short time, according
to brain death committee mem-
ber Dr. Kenneth Kooi. Kooi, an
EEG expert, says that only a
small number of comatose pa-

tients are treated at 'U' los- life, but with virtually no hope
pital. "Many of those," he re- of recovery. A respirator has

marks, "die in a matter of
months. Some are maintained
in the hospital, and some reach
a point where they can be taken
care of in nursing homes.
SUT," HE GOES ON, "there
is a small number who'
just hover-who remain in a
vegetative, comatose state."
Quinlan, the young New Jer-
sey woman who took a near fa-
tal mixture of alcohol and bar-
biturates, is just such a case.
For months, she has been in a
coma, exhibiting faint signs of

DN studis sir

kept her alive.
Last fall, Qumlan's parents
filed suit in a state court ask-
ing that Karen be allowed to
die. The court ruled against the
parents. But the case is now on'
appeal. Should a New Jersey;
court rule in favor of euthana-
sia for patients such as Quinlan,;
a precedent will be set opening
the way for the practice across
the country.
"The concern that I have in
these cases is that families can
be left destitute," Kooi says.
"All of their resources can be
lost in the medical expenses of
these patients. There does seemI
to me to be a need to have gov-
ernment support, some recogm-
tion that this is a natural dis-
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The
record production of 1975 will
burden producers of major food
crops during 1976, according to
extension economists at the
North Carolina State University.:
They say supplies of most!
crops increased in 1975, causing,
a drop in prices and farmer pro-
fits. Smnlies are expected to re-
main high during 1976, result-
iHg in a continuing price-cost
When Buck Thornburg won
wit' Marybelle York at Garden
State racetrack on Dec. 2, it
marked his 2,000th winner.
Ted Simmons of the St. Louis
Cardinals had 16 game-winning
runs batted in last season.

iAPER NOTES that if a pa- Burke sometimes participates
tient runs out of money, that with the physicians and the!
is never seen as a reason for -family in making decisions on.I
letting him or her die. how to treat dying patients.1
"I'm involved in getting the is-l
"The hospital," he says, "nev- sue talked about," he says. "WeI
er stops care for a patientdbe- talk about the different ways
cause they can't pay. The doc- you might go about handling theI
tors never know whether they situation.
pay their bills. I couldn't care E 4
less about the payment when "(hCCASIONALLY, d 0 ot o r s
I'm at the patient bedside." just want to sit down and'
etalkabout a difficult problem.
A trend is now growing to- And the decisions can be agoniz-.
ward more honest confronta- ing. They're not talking about
tions in hospitals with the prob- abstract cases-they're talking
lem of death, according to Dan about what's happening down-
Burke, director of the Univer- stairs on the ward.
sity's Program in Health and "Sometimes, the family is so
Human Values. Burke, an Epis- distraught that to ask them to!
copal minister, teaches medical participate in making a decision
and nursing students. is inhumane. Therefore, we
"I'm concerned with getting have to take it upon ourselves.
an input of moral philosophy in- "In making decisions," he
to medicine," Burke says. "We'- continues, "we are all haunted
ve come to a kind of a cultural by the classic case of the per-
crisis point about the meaning -
of life and death. We've dealt
with it by means of avoidance. Dr. Paul C. Ulan
People tend to say, 'Leave the'OPTOMETRIST
children out of it, far heaven's OPTOE TIs
sake.' So people are able to Fusl Contact Lens Service
die, survive, or grieve welL" Optical Lab
------545 CHURCH, 769-1222

son who shouldn't have gotten
well-who was apparently dead
-but who later walked out of
the hospital. These miracles do
happen-that is, miracles in the
sense that antibiotics are mir-
acle drugs."
These "miracles" take place
occasionally. More often the
comatose patients die, as Marla
did after a few weeks of treat-
ment. But some patients live on
with little chance of recovery,
unconscious or in severe pain,
and doctors are not legally per-
mitted to hasten their deaths.
But the Quinlan appeal could
change all that.
Two-hour workshop for any-
one interested in discussing
the. possibility of forming a
small experimental, inten-
tional, or cooperative com-
munity. includinci both single
people and families, open to
students, faculty, and staff
aas well as people outside the
university community. F o r
more information and time
and p 1 a c e of workshops,
Slease call persistently 995-

(Continued from page 3 conceivable that this could be a!
cherichia coli (E. coli), the technique like we've never seen
most extensively studied species before."
of bacteria. The altered genes "We're dealing with the pos-
of the DNA ring will eventually sibility of an irreversible acci-
replicate and change the genetic dent," Schwartz cautions. We've
zharacteristics of the E. coli go to know. more about what the
just as if they had been there hell we're doing."
all along. Jackson acknowledges that!
The controversy over recom- estimates of risks must be
binant DNA research began based, at least for the present,
when it was still a fledglng on the results of specific experi-
science, in 1971, as scientists ments held under specific cir-
realized dangerous organisms cumstances. But he urges oth-
could be devoloped if safety ers to try to base their deci-
measures were inadequate. One sion on the information scien-'
hazard, they decided, was that titsts have gathered: "Let the
mutant bacteria could escape critics go look at the facts,"
from the laboratory and infect Jack sa s "Those of us who
persons in the surrounding com- acksontsts Thosed opuswh
munity. The danger is particu- are scientists are used to prov-
larly important because E. coli, pbing (arguments) in a very
which is easily airborne, thrives public way. We publish in jour-
in the human gut. At an inter- nals that anyone can go out
national meeting of 160 scientists and read . .. and decide wheth-
in Asilomar, Calif. in early 1975, er or not it is true."
the ban on five types of re- The majority of Committee
combinant DNA research was B, the University's recombinant
set. DNA research policy group,
Later, a committee was form- mentions a number of other
ed by the National Institutes of possible benefits in its report,
Health (NIH) to draw up guide- released last week, which en-
lines for safe pursuit of the dorses most forms of the ex-
research. Preliminary reports periments. Bacteria could be
detailing laboratory standards used as factories for production
for various classes of recom- of insulin, growth hormones, the
binant DNA studies have been missing factor in the blood of
released, but the final version hemophiliacs, or specific anti-
is pending. bodies, the report contends.
CRITICISM at the University "Other potential applications of
sprang up late last year DNA - combining have been
when Jackson and others in the suggested: defense against al-
Microbiology Dept. asked the lergic disease, the loss of im-1
University Board of Regents for munity, or the rejection of
funds to cover the renovation transplanted organs."
of laboratories for recombinant But the sole dissenter within
DNA research. It surfaced in Committee B, History Prof.
a series of noon-hour panel dis- Shaw Livermore, took quite a
cussions and prime time public different view of the research.
forums (where some scientists Livermore wrote a low-keyed,
were loudly hissed) during Feb" concise minority opinion which
ruary and early this month, un- was placed in the rear of the
precedented for a research is- 54-page committee tome; it op-!
sue so technical. poses recombinant DNA experi-
Although recombinant DNA ments not for the hazards but
research and its hazards have on moral grounds.
become an issue at many insti- -
tutions, "the degree of contro- * mNM*m" ***
versy seems to be unique to'
Michigan," according- to Jack- HELP SUPPORT
son. "Certainly the amount of
openness and public debate isA
completely unique." OUR ADOF'TED
Jackson, who works in a
crowded laboratory on the sixth MALAYAN
floor of the Medical Science II
Building and is teaching a SUN BEAR.
course this term on the prin-
ciples and applications of re-
combinant DNA methodology, Put our
has taken part in the public de-
bate more than anyone else, Quarters
critic or supporter.
His principal strength in the in
controversy has been his per-
sonal command of the intrica-
cies of microbiology, knowledge "W ildlife"
that has helped him discredit
opponents by poking holes in
technical portions of their ar- at the
guments. His principal weak-
ness is his obvious vested in-
terest that the experiments be Crss Moose
condoned. Crs Eye Mo s
[ACKSON AND HIS colleagues,
says Mathematics Prof. Art 613 E. LIBERTY
Schwartz, "have a stake in the
research going ahead. It is very ************ * ***
outstanding nhilosooher of the Holocaust
"This Moment in Jewish History: A Theological,
Philosophiscal, and Mythical Understanding of
the State of Israel and It's Positions in the
At 8 p.m.-Sunday, March 28
1429 HILL ST.

"iT SHOULD not demean
rman," Livermore says, "to
say that we may now be unable:
tomanage successfully a capa-
bility for altering life itself. We
have benefitted remarkably
from a vast increase in human
power over the past few cen-
turies. Yet 1 am both admon-
ished and sustained by the ris-
ing voice of those observers
who tell us that human coping
is being sapped by an increas-
ing incapacity to assert a sense
of control over the changing
terms of contemporary life.
"Moral decisions," he contin-
ues, "cannot be tested by
quantifiable, 'scientific or even
logical modes of proof. I have
tried to look into the faces of
those who might be immediate-
ly helped by this research, but
also into the faces of those who
might be overwhelmed by the
capability of having basic forms
of life altered."
Somewhat harsher in their
criticisms are the few that sug-
gest recombinant DNA metho-
dology will inevitably be ap-
plied against humans, rather
than for them, perhaps toward
the creation of a genetically
"permanent servant class."
Sinister motives are also often

alleged by Science For The Peo-
ple, a national organization of
radical scientists, based in Bos-
ton, which contends the bene-
fits of the experiments will ac-
crue only to scientists and cor-
porations, not the general citiz-
enry. Its local chapter has a
six-member study group press-
ing for greater community in-
volvement in the decision-mak-
ing of genetic engineering.
Benefits. Costs. The measure-
ments are exceedingly difficult,
and yet a sizeable number of
persons at the University have
a f:iund something - perhaps
faith --- on which to base a pro-
or-con position. All along, re-
combinant DNA was an unlikely
topic for major debate. Mole-
cules are rarely salient factors
in the average person's daily
life, plasmids even less so. It
does not even involve large ex-
penditures of tax dollars, or
delicate foreign policy. It takes
strong concentration and delib-
erate effort to understand the
issue. For a complicated issue
in microbiology, many persons
have now taken the effort to ef-
fect a major change in the pro-
cess of research.

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