Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Fight for Amelia

In my last post, I noted the post where Amelia Rivera's parents were told by a doctor that Amelia did not have a right to live because she is "mentally retarded" and "brain damaged." I was right. I didn't get any sleep that night. The thought that there are people- professionals who are supposed to be familiar with disabilities and the rights of people with disabilities- is terrifying.

Note I didn't say "surprising." Unfortunately, we know better. We know the ignorance remains, even in people who should know better. Who are trained to know better. Who we trust to know better. Even people who say they know better.

That is why the fight for Amelia is so important. There is no excuse for anyone to deny someone the right to live, especially by denying them appropriate medical care and service. Professionals of a children's hospital know better. If they don't, the hospital should take measures to find out why, and make sure everyone on their staff knows better, and believes that all people are due their basic rights.

Not just the doctors, nurses, and social workers, either. Everyone. The administrators, the assistants, the janitorial staff, the cafeteria staff, the volunteers, the secretaries... everyone.

Disability is no excuse for denying a person- no matter their age or your assumptions about their "quality of life"- the right to live. People with disabilities are already actively targeted for bullying and crime; they don't need to be targeted in a hospital, when they are trying to get medical care.

This is important. Today, it is Amelia. Tomorrow, it could be Joey. Or Andy. Or you.

To see a list of more posts written for Amelia and disability rights- such as the right to LIVE- check out this site.

And please: sign the petition!


Sunday said...

Thank you so much for your blog posts for #TeamAmelia. I have added them to her petition site!

Arthur Burk said...

I cheer you on. I don't know where we came to the conclusion in our society that "personhood" is a function of our brain.

I remember how frustrated I was as a kid. Academically I was the biggest challenge my family had. Socially I was the biggest embarrassment.

There were issues with my organic processing which got resolved later on in life. Today I am a businessman and am highly respected for my capabilities, but no one in their wildest imagination would have expected "success" for the kid I used to be.

But even that is irrelevant. I, and you and Amelia are a being apart from the brain. Whether you call it spirit, or soul, or personality, we, the person, our essence is not defined by the brain.

Amelia is a being, and her being is not to be measured by the number and quality of her brain cells anymore than we say a person is no longer a being if they lose a limb in a car accident.

So i add my voice to cheering you on. I know I am "preaching to the choir!" Thanks for letting me do a rant in favor of personhood.

Go Team Amelia!

Arthur Burk