If a child were to die because of a reckless driver, it would be up to the jury to decide what they believe is fair to award the family. However, if a child dies due to an error made by a nurse or doctor, the jury's authority to decide how to compensate the family is taken away from them.
The case of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old girl declared brain dead at Children's Hospital Oakland on Dec. 12, is but the most recent example of a 40-year-old national perplexity and the controversy that it is capable of unleashing.
The case of Marlise Munoz may ultimately be decided on legal grounds -- that is, whether the Texas statute is applicable to a dead body containing a living fetus. The ethical question, however, remains.
Organ donation is an important part of our giving back to those who are awaiting a functioning organ when our bodies no longer have need of those organs. It is also a very individual and private decision that one should consider while one is still healthy.
What do we think of people in persistent vegetative states, who can breathe but can't think? Mentally, they are dead, but since we're very aware of the body still lying there, we can't as easily imagine them as active characters in our lives.